Abe Hamilton and John Auld are greatly disappointed that the Cove Community Wind Farm planning application is to be withdrawn and they would expect all the landowners included in this project, to be similarly disappointed.
For three years Abe and in turn John have supported this project in many forms. To allow the Trust this opportunity Abe severed talks with a commercial developer.
During the past three years neither John nor Abe have received any income as a result of the Trust’s planning application construction and gave their time to planning and land for the siting of an anemometer mast and the onsite surveys that numerous agencies had to carry out in order to create the Trust’s application. This was done in support of the Trust’s effort and for the benefit of the community with no financial recompense to themselves.
The majority of productive negotiations took place during Summer 2012 and effectively concluded in early September. It was understood at that time that the Trust Board’s lawyer would be in contact shortly afterwards with the landowners’ lawyer, appointed by the Trust to represent Abe and John. The Trust Board’s lawyer passed his approved version of the drafted option and lease agreement to the landowner’s lawyer in late November 2012 to allow scrutiny.
It was a condition of signature Abe and John’s that they would sign option and lease agreements simultaneously with one of the other landowners. No indication was passed to Abe and John’s representation that a third landowner was in a position to do this and as deadlines approached no formal reassurance was given that this had been achieved.
It had been requested that wind data and grid connection progress updates were also passed to the landowners. The Trust had expected wind data by the end of August 2012. In a meeting in July 2013, attended by Abe and John and the representative of Community Energy Scotland (CES) who was guiding the Trust Board, that the wind data had still to be secured and was not in the Trust’s possession.
In late July 2013 this data was finally secured with the assistance of the CES representative and has to date not been passed to the landowners. It was conveyed to Abe and John that the data does not support an 11.5MW turbine scheme which has been the basis for all discussions and negotiations and the subject of the planning application.
It is also understood that the Trust required signed option agreements and agreed lease terms in order to release the further funding that they required to proceed with the planning hearing. They were unable to answer questions from the landowners that could have created some reassurances as the wind data evidence suggested that the original scheme was unachievable.
Abe and John have had no discussions or contact with any other commercial developer during the past three years and have no plans to commence any discussions. Their intention had been to create an opportunity in support of the Trust’s endeavours to construct a community owned wind farm with significant community benefit.
Abe and John remain in talks with their lawyer on this matter.