Community councillors in Helensburgh have decided to support plans for a wind farm above the town – despite the majority of people at a public meeting they organised having voted against the scheme.
A comment in support of the plan for five 86.5-metre turbines has now been lodged by Nigel Millar, secretary of the community council, on Argyll and Bute Council’s website.
The community council has 12 members but it appears that many of them did not attend the meeting last Thursday, when the wind farm was discussed.
The margin in favour of the wind farm was just 3-2, with one member abstaining and three declaring an interest and not voting.
Very unusually, the community council response does not cite any reasons at all for its support of the proposal – there is no mention at all of issues such as planning policy or community gain.
The plan is jointly proposed by landowners Luss Estates, wind farm specialists Green Cat Renewables and Helensburgh Renewables, which was set up by the community council.
A recent public meeting in the town, organised by the community council, saw a clear majority vote against the project, but the developers pressed on regardless, saying this result was typical of such meetings.
Postal ballots organised by the developers themselves and Rhu and Shandon Community Council both showed clear majorities against the proposal, which is expected to generate up to £40,000 per year for local causes.
Ian Fraser of Helensburgh Renewables has lodged a comment stating that the money would create a fund to ‘help fellow citizens down on their luck’.
This would help young people aged 13-18 as well as small business start-ups and affordable housing.
He added that the total economic benefit could be £4m over a 20 year period and asked how objectors such as Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park could provide any alternative funding.
‘Very few’ people in Helensburgh would see the turbines at all times, he said, while ‘Rhu has a partial sighting and Shandon none at all’.
The site at Tom Na H Airidh hill is actually within Rhu and Shandon Community Council’s area.
Presumably in an erroneous reference to the Cove Community Wind `Farm, which would primarily have benefited the Cove and Kilcreggan area, he added: “Rosneath and Clynder I believe were supportive of their own wind project before it collapsed. Obviously people on the north side of the peninsula will have full sightings.”