Let down over turbines

Three wind turbines at The Shiels, Laurencekirk, were approved at Tuesday’s meeting of the Kincardine and Mearns Area Committee, but the previous evening, members of Mearns Community Council expressed the opinion that they had been let down by the fact that the planning application was even going before elected members.

Community council chairman David Nelson said that he had been promised by planning officials that three separate applications, at The Shiels, at Easter Tulloch and an extension to the Tullo scheme would be considered together.

The community council held a public meeting in Laurencekirk after which they decided to represent the community by declaring they would lodge objections to all three applications when they came forward.

Mr Nelson said: “The Shiels is first in and we have been told it has to come forward now.

“We were given an assurance that they would not be considered until all three applications were in and that they could be considered in a holistic manner.”

Member Alan Mowat said: “Are we still getting our bribe money for these things? There was a lot of mention about community benefit funds initially, but mention of community money seems to have dried up.”

Provost Bill Howatson commented: “Community money has no part in the planning process, that is entirely up to the developer.

“The Government made it clear there should be no unnecessary delay in turbine applications coming forward. The fact that not all applications are in should not delay the process.”

Mr Mowat said that everyone will get used to the wind turbines on our landscape in time.

Economic development was the main topic of discussion at the Ward Forum held last week.

Council member Susie Brown, chair of the Mearns Area Partnership, said she felt the ward forum was a good meeting and had the best turnout of the three that were held.

“The onus is on us to drive this forward. We have the right to say who we want to be there next time and the topics we want to discuss.”