My remarks yesterday on why I said Yes to the Corlic hill windfarm.

Thank you Provost

This of course is a decision I’m sure elected members are unable to keep everyone happy with regarding how they will vote.

I have considered the various representations and I would like to make the following points:

Firstly I fully respect everyone’s opinion and welcome that so many have taken part in this process.

However I would say in respect of some of them-

In terms of Lurg Moor Roman Fort and Road. Absolutely I accept that this development would change how the area would change how the area would’ve looked in Roman times. I consider though that when I turn around and look towards the Clyde and ask myself would I have objected to our once famous shipyards being built as that’s not what the Clyde would’ve looked like from the Moor in Roman times? How many 10,000s of jobs would that’ve cost Inverclyde over the years?

If I move onto Clyde Muirshiel park. This is a great facility on our doorstep. I have had the privilege that I’ve been able to visit it 100s of times over the years. However one thought that I find inconsistent is the park is objecting to a scheme that promotes renewable energy – ergo protecting the natural Enviroment – but the park has a nuclear power station on its boundary. Of course I am not passing comment on the power station but pointing out an inconsistency in what I would’ve thought a regional park preferred on its doorstep.

Another Representation or objection to consider is Glasgow Airport’s. Now this is probably the most crucial in terms of planning grounds. I should add and regardless of this councils decision this is an objection that will have to be judged at a place further from here.

However to me the most important objection is that that has come from the people that live near the area. Their views must always be given the respect they deserve. I can understand completely that people who have built up a home in this area and have decided to raise their family in this area and stay there afterwards in some cases will have concerns about their area changing. Their concerns are valid and I have listened to them. Their objections are what have made my decision today a hard one.

However it is only right to recognise the positive aspects this development can bring to Inverclyde.

Firstly it brings another bit of industrial work back to the area. A key part in reindustrialising an area which has witnessed it’s industry being wiped out in the 80s and 90s.

Furthermore I previously mentioned our shipbuilding heritage. To this councils credit people of all cross sections came together to safeguard the future of Fergusons shipyard. I believe in the future the renewable sector will be key to the long term growth and sustainability of that workforce. I fear what message we may send out to that sector in terms of Inverclyde’s attitutde in welcoming renewable projects and jobs to the area.

Of course construction of the project will give that sector a boost which it needs. It will bring money into the area in terms of supply chain and materials during the project that will create jobs. I would be keen to see requirements placed on the contractors involved to provide local young people with apprenticeships during the construction phase.

To me though there is another issue that is important with this project. I was touched by a recent article I read in which former Morton player Warren Hawke – now a club consultant – spoke of the difference this project can make to community groups across our area.

I believe the phrase for those of us that aren’t planning experts is that this isn’t a material planning consideration but to me surely the wider community is a crucial consideration ? This project will see £120,000 go to community groups and projects for the next 25 years. I can only imagine the great work that our magnificent community groups and voluntary organisations could do with that. Could this help make Inverclyde a better place ? Could it help poverty projects reduce the need for foodbanks ? Could it be used to target projects that reduce anti social behaviour in the area ? Could it create a better community ? I think the answer is yes.

I genuinely believe this project is good for all of Inverclyde.

Good for future jobs.

Good for the people that need the support it can bring now.

Therefore provost I will be supporting this application and move that it is granted.


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