Visual impact the key for wind farm, say developers after debate

A debate over wind farm plans for Helensburgh drew more than than 100 people last week, despite wet and windy weather.

How the turbines could look from the A817 Haul Road
How the turbines could look from the A817 Haul Road

In a vote at the end of the meeting in the Victoria Halls there were 43 against the plan and 21 in favour, with 39 abstentions.

But afterwards developers said they had refuted the claims of their critics, and that objectors often outnumbered supporters at public meetings.

Five 86.5 metre turbines are proposed for a site at Tom na h-Airidh hill by Helensburgh Renewables – set up by the town’s community development trust – Luss Estates and Green Cat Renewables.

Afterwards Ian Fraser of Helensburgh Renewables said the fundamental issue was the creation of a Common Good Fund for Helensburgh and he had been encouraged by questions about how that would be established and governed.

“With so much focus on the community wind farm itself, it was good to also discuss how local people can get involved in effectively managing the money generated,” he added.

The event was organised by Helensburgh Community Council and chaired by former Argyll and Bute councillor John Tacchi; TEG-H, a local community group which has decided to oppose the plan, gave a presentation.

Simon Miller of Luss Estates commented: “The debate covered many different aspects of the proposals.

“However, it was clear that, for objectors, visual impact remains a key concern, and I was therefore pleased to have the opportunity to refute TEG-H’s claims that the presence of five turbines will be economically detrimental.

“As chief executive of a business which has invested millions in the local property and tourism sectors in recent years, we simply would not consider backing Helensburgh Community Wind Farm if we thought it would be harmful to either.”

Gavin Catto of Green Cat Renewables added: “As is often the case at wind farm public meetings, objectors outnumbered supporters.

“However, the breadth of questions from the public was very encouraging, and together with Ian and Simon I was please to help provide answers on everything from finance and business model through to the technology and the increasingly important role of wind power in the UK.”

The developers say at least £40,000 per year would be generated for local community projects, but both their own poll and one organised by Rhu and Shandon Community Council have shown clear majorities against the project.

1 Comment

  1. Why don’t these developers listen and read and follow the councils guide lines and adhere to what is and what is not allowed. They are quite simple! maximum height of these should be 50m or less. It’s not difficult to understand and if they read through A&B planning notes on the last application in Kilcreggan they will see what was commented concerning these guidelines and how the Kilcreggan application went against most of them. This is just a total waste of money and time for A&B Council when it is already strapped for cash.

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