Wind mast is given plan­ning ap­proval

Rutherglen Reformer - - News - Kenny Smith

Plan­ning per­mis­sion to erect a wind mast near the Loa­nend Cot­tages in Cam­bus­lang was yes­ter­day ( Tues­day) granted by South La­nark­shire Coun­cil.

Res­i­dents living in the nearby cot­tages have vo­cif­er­ously spo­ken out against the plan, sub­mit­ted by the Healthy ‘n’ Happy com­mu­nity devel­op­ment trust, to erect the 50m mast near to their homes.

The mast will be used to gauge the wind in the area, with a view to erect­ing a 76m wind tur­bine on the site.

A hear­ing was held at the plan­ning com­mit­tee in Hamil­ton, when both sides were able to have their say.

A to­tal of 162 ob­jec­tion let­ters were re­ceived by the coun­cil, from res­i­dents in Cam­bus­lang and Blan­tyre, an­other pe­ti­tion with three names was sent, while 292 peo­ple sub­mit­ted a pe­ti­tion through the change.org web­site, but th­ese were not re­ceived by the coun­cil due to their email fil­ters.

The lo­cal author­ity pledged to look into the mat­ter in fu­ture.

Speak­ing for Healthy ‘ n’ Happy, ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor Bren­dan Rooney said: “It’s not just re­new­ables who should ben­e­fit from Scot­land’s re­new­able re­sources.

“Our pro­pos­als will al­low the benefits to go to all ar­eas of our com­mu­nity.

“We un­der­stand there is a rea­son­able level of ob­jec­tion to the pro­posal, but there’s also a high level of sup­port, as is the case through­out Scot­land.”

The ob­jec­tors were rep­re­sented by Alan Hep­worth.

He said: “In to­tal 457 in­di­vid­ual ob­jec­tion let­ters, emails re­flect the large pro­por­tion of the Cam­bus­lang East and Blan­tyre public opin­ion - in­clud­ing Half­way Com­mu­nity Coun­cil - against this wind mast which ev­ery­one knows is a pre­cur­sor to a large 76m industrial wind tur­bine.

“In fact a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of the ob­jec­tors ac­tu­ally stated this in their let­ter of ob­jec­tion. This fig­ure can be com­pared to the 17 ex­pres­sions of sup­port iden­ti­fied from the de­vel­op­ers so- called public ex­hi­bi­tion and con­sul­ta­tion at the end of Fe­bru­ary.

“In ad­di­tion, a let­ter of rep­re­sen­ta­tion from Mar­garet Ferrier MP sup­ports the com­mu­ni­ties’ op­po­si­tion to this wind mast in this lo­ca­tion.”

He ar­gued strongly against the mast, and Mr Hep­worth added: “We are not try­ing to ar­gue that ap­prov­ing a wind mast sets a pre­cen­dent for ap­prov­ing the wind tur­bine - we are ar­gu­ing that the wind mast is a pre­cur­sor for a wind tur­bine and can­not be con­sid­ered in iso­la­tion.

“We strongly be­lieve that this mast should not be granted as no 50m struc­ture would be ac­cept­able in this land­scape un­less it has a pur­pose and ben­e­fit.”

The ap­pli­ca­tion was rec­om­mended for ap­proval by plan­ners, who stated: “It is con­sid­ered that the pro­posal would be con­si­tent with the pro­vi­sions of both the adopted South La­nark­shire lo­cal plan and the pro­posed South La­nark­shire lo­cal devel­op­ment plan. The ap­proval of this tem­po­rary mast would not prej­u­dice the de­ter­mi­na­tion of any fu­ture ap­pli­ca­tion for a wind tur­bine.”

How­ever, be­fore a vote was taken, points were raised by coun­cil­lors with re­gards to fu­ture wind tur­bine ap­pli­ca­tions in the area.

East Kil­bride coun­cil­lor Chris Thomp­son was par­tic­u­larly sym­pa­thetic to the points raised by Mr Hep­worth.

Af­ter a vote, per­mis­sion was granted by coun­cil­lors for a two year pe­riod in which time the mast can be erected, and then dis­man­tled.

Li­isa Hep­worth, speak­ing on be­half of the ob­jec­tors, said they were: “Not sur­prised at the plan­ning com­mit­tee de­ci­sion as South La­nark­shire Coun­cil have never turned down an ap­pli­ca­tion for a wind mast be­fore on the ba­sis that it is a pre­cur­sor to a wind tur­bine.

“This is the first time we have seen Bren­dan Rooney, ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor of Healthy ‘n’ Happy in such a for­mal set­ting and who claimed at the com­mit­tee they are good at en­gag­ing with the com­mu­nity.

“We hope now that he has heard the strength of feel­ing against the wind­mast/ wind­tur­bine and the views of a mi­nor­ity of coun­cil­lors against the pro­posal that he starts en­gag­ing with this com­mu­nity prop­erly and sin­cerely be­fore press­ing ahead with such a con­tro­ver­sial pro­posal.”

Bren­dan Rooney added: “At this time, poverty is ris­ing, adults are hav­ing to use food­banks to sur­vive, and public funds have been slashed - how do you sup­port those in need?

“Our plans for a wind tur­bine is for com­mu­ni­ties to get the ben­e­fit - that’s all of the com­mu­ni­ties in Cam­bus­lang and Ruther­glen, in­clud­ing Half­way.

“We are pleased that South La­nark­shire Coun­cil’s plan­ning com­mit­tee ap­proved our ap­pli­ca­tion for a wind mast.

“This mast only com­putes data like wind­speed and how much wind is in that area.

“We be­lieve the plan­ning re­port was com­pre­hen­sive and we were sat­is­fied with the rec­om­men­da­tions.

“Healthy ‘ n’ Happy are happy we have been dili­gent, re­spon­si­ble and com­pre­hen­sive, both in our ap­pli­ca­tion and on con­sul­ta­tion with lo­cal or­gan­i­sa­tions and lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties.”

We now hope that he has heard the strength of feel­ing against the wind mast/tur­bine - Li­isa Hep­worth

Ob­jec­tions Res­i­dents of Loa­nend Cot­tages are un­happy at the wind mast be­ing granted

Il­lus­tra­tion A graphic cre­ated by ob­jec­tors to show how tall the wind mast will be

Ap­pli­ca­tion Bren­dan Rooney from Healthy ‘n’ Happy com­mu­nity devel­op­ment trust

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