Linfairn Inquiry postponed

Ruined – this iconic view of Straiton

View of Straiton with Monument

It is with great sadness that we have to report the Judicial Review into Dersalloch will not go ahead. Mark Gibson of Craigengillan (with the support of East Ayrshire Council) had done everything possible to bring one about but sadly a judge ruled that he would not allow his expenses to be capped. This would mean ScottishPower Renewables could extract their costs from him which may have been many thousands of pounds. They, ScottishPower Renewables, were represented by no less than four QCs.

It would appear to us that the Government have not followed their own Planning procedures whereby if the local council object to a development a Public Local Inquiry (PLI) is held. Both South and East Ayrshire Councils objected, along with 4,723 individuals. The high-handed way the Ministers have dealt with this, ignoring local communities, disregarding the Landscape Capacity Study and, of course, announcing the decision to approve without a PLI on the opening day of the Commonwealth Games so it would not receive any media attention, leave a very unpleasant taste.

A Public Local Inquiry would have been the fairest way to proceed; all parties could have voiced their concerns openly. Since the original application there have been significant changes with the formation of the Dark Sky Park, the South Ayrshire Landscape Capacity Study, a new Local Development Plan has been adopted and ospreys are now established at Loch Doon to name just some.

The construction of Dersalloch is by a foreign company, installing German made and serviced turbines and using a construction firm from southern Ireland so there would be very little local, or even national, economic benefit.

We have always believed that following the Planning guidelines and working with the system, although not perfect, is the best way to protect our area from inappropriate developments. This is a clear case of inappropriate development. We must hope that the Scottish Government stop overruling local communities and local democracy and that such a travesty of justice is not repeated yet again.