This is an appeal for your support (don’t worry, no money involved!) for a community-owned wind turbine that we hope to erect in Achiltibuie to provide income solely for local projects – principally affordable housing, business premises, community amenities and environmental improvements. It’s being done by community volunteers and no-one stands to gain personally except in general as a member of a stronger and better community.
Why am I asking for this favour? Well, we’re aware that putting up a 77m tip-height wind turbine (and only one – our grid couldn’t take more even if we wanted to!) in a National Scenic Area isn’t to everyone’s liking and we know there are people, many of whom have nothing to do with our community and don’t live here, who are going to try to stop it – despite very strong community support demonstrated in a ballot conducted by Highland Council. Arguments used against it are generally those same ones that are used against big commercial wind-farms, which we can appreciate but feel are inappropriate for a single, small scale, community owned turbine. Other objections are from those who deny the community needs any support despite such evidence as: the ‘closed and gone away’ signs on the Achiltibuie Hydroponicum, Summer Isles Foods and Polbain Stores; the school roll, which was 36 in the mid 1990s falling to just 13 now; young families with no affordable housing; entrepreneurial spirits stifled by a lack of business premises; piers failing fast and unfit for purpose.
It would help us greatly if you could support our planning application, before 4th October, by leaving an appropriate comment on the Highland Council ePlanning website. To do this, just copy this reference number: 13/02582/FUL, and paste it into the search window on the planning website: http://wam.highland.gov.uk/wam/ . This will to take you to our application and there you’ll find a “Make a Public Comment” button. Alternatively, you can write to the planning department to give your support, addressing your letter to: D Stott, ePlanning Centre, Highland Council, Glenurquhart Road, INVERNESS IV3 5NX, and again quoting the reference number 13/02582/FUL
You can find out more about our project and why we need it at our website: http://coigachwindpower.wordpress.com/
What to say? It’s entirely up to you, but you will be able to see the comments that others have left (it seems to be taking them a long time to appear on the site though!). Something like: “(As a visitor to Coigach/as a supporter of community self-determination/as someone concerned about developments in the landscape/etc), I fully support the proposed single community turbine sited where proposed.” The planning website gives guidance on what they can consider when it comes to public comments – many are irrelevant, but here they are:
the appearance of the proposal in terms of design/scale
siting and materials
traffic, parking or access issues
residential amenity (noise, overshadowing public rooms, privacy)
drainage and infrastructure
impact on the natural or built environment.
Please help us to keep Achiltibuie, and the rest of the community of Coigach, a great place to live, work and visit by giving your support now for this vital project.
Please feel free to come back to me with any questions you may have.