Questions over status of turbine application

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HOPES could be dashed that GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK) wind turbine application might be heard by the full Angus Council instead of just its development control committee.

At a recent public meeting in Ferryden Councillor Sandy West said he believed that council planners have not designated the application for the two 426-feet high turbines on GSK’s site, which has yet to be lodged, as a major development. This means that the plan would be considered by the development control committee only of which just one local councillor, Mark Salmond, is a member.

Mr West, who said he was withholding opinion on the proposal until the application is lodged next month, added that he felt it would be fairer to classify the application as a major development. It would then be heard by the full council, giving all Montrose councillors a chance to have their say.

He said: “It’s wrong for me to comment on the actual application, but my understanding is that it has already been decided that this will not be a major application, which is a great pity.

“This committee will decide with only one local councillor on it with a vote. That won’t deter other councillors speaking at the meeting but we won’t have a vote.

“I hope to go through the legal aspect of it, that it should be deemed a major application.”

One member of the public, Sandy Munro, who described the turbine proposal as one of the most significant ever to affect Montrose, questioned at what level that decision had been taken and Ferryden community councillor Daniel Paton challenged it as being “undemocratic”.

Mr Munro also said that the strength of opinion at the meeting against the proposal belied any suggestions that it was not a major project for the town.

Dr Paton said: “No-one here was aware of this and we have to take that up. Glaxo has said they regard this as a major proposal so the council is at variance with that.”

But a council spokeswoman this week said that Scottish Government guidelines dictate whether an application is deemed to be “local” or “major”.

She said: “In the case of wind turbine applications, proposals for major developments are where the generating capacity is or exceeds 20 megawatts.

“Indications are that the turbines in the GSK proposal would have a generating capacity of 6 megawatts, so this falls into the category of a local development.