Councillors quit over windfarm

Little Raith wind farm, not far from the proposed site at Auchtertool
Little Raith wind farm, not far from the proposed site at Auchtertool
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THE decision by councillors to approve plans for three wind turbines at Clentrie Farm has prompted the resignation of three Auchtertool community councillors.

The chairman, secretary and treasurer have resigned claiming villagers’ concerns about the impact of the turbines have been ignored.

Renewable Energy Ventures’ plans had been recommended for refusal by planning officers, however Kirkcaldy area committee approved them last month.

Former secretary, Katrona Turner said: “We felt that as a body representing the views of villagers, we were not listened to by the councillors elected to represent us.

“Had the planners employed by Fife Council recommended this application, the Community Council would have been unhappy but moved on, as the public have no right to an appeal.

“However, the planners recommended the application be refused on the grounds of the impact on the local community.

Ignored

“This recommendation was ignored by the planning committee, which included councillors George Kay and Susan Leslie who represent Auchtertool, and permission was granted.”

Mrs Turner said it is “difficult to understand” as both councillors attend meetings and were aware of village objections.

A Community Council survey showed 93 per cent of the 116 replies were against the development of turbines around Auchtertool.

However, the committee report stated the application had attracted 24 letters of objection, 47 of support and 50 per cent backing from people attending public exhibitions.

Both councillors said elected members have to consider all views when determining planning applications.

Cllr Leslie said: “It is important to listen to and read all available information.”

She said in this application the views of some community councillors were not shared by others, or the majority of people who attended the exhibitions, and planners had different views in terms of previous applications.

Disappointed

She added that her decision was based on “the information ‘in the round’” and she was “disappointed” not to have received communication from the Community Council about the application prior to the committee decision.

Cllr Kay said he has attended their meetings for 14 years: “During that time I have worked with the community and the office bearers who have now resigned and together we have achieved a lot for the community.

“It is disappointing therefore that when we are for once not able to agree with their wishes their immediate reaction is to resign.

“We will now work with the remainder of the Community Council and others to ensure the considerable community gain which will come from this development will be available as quickly as possible.”