Wind mast is given planning approval
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