Garvagh Windfarm: Councillors to address PAC


Two members of the Causeway Coast and Glens planning committee are to address the Planning Appeals Commission to put forward Councils’s views on the Cam Burn Wind Farm in Garvagh

Earlier this month it was revealed that Environment Minister Mark H Durkan had served a notice of opinion to approve the wind farm, which includes six wind turbines.

The application had over 500 letters of objection, and was voted down by Causeway Coast and Glens councillors in September, and members of the previous Coleraine Borough Council.

At a special meeting of Council’s Planning Committee on Monday night, members agreed to write to the Department, requesting the opportunity to appear before the PAC, or an other person appointed by the Department.

At the meeting, residents opposed to the application watched on from the public gallery.

Members of the planning committee were given two options, to take no further action on the application or to put the Committee’s case to the PAC.

DUP Alderman Sam Cole proposed that members should go for the second option, this was seconded by UUP councillor Aaron Callan.

Alderman Cole questioned why the media had been notified about the minister’s decision before any members of the committee.

“It is strange to over turn an opinion of the planning committee and not notify the Chair or the Head Planner,” said the Garvagh councillor.

Independent member Paudie McShane did not agree. He told the meeting he was ‘uncomfortable with the whole thing’.

“Members are playing to the public gallery when they have no ability to change the opinion,” said the Glens councillor.

Alliance councillor Barney Fitzpatrick described the application as a ‘beaten docket’.

He said: “The final decision will lie with the DoE, it doesn’t matter what we do.

SDLP Alderman Gerry Mullan, who admitted being in favour of wind energy, said that he supported the proposal to appear before the PAC.

Eight members voted for the proposal, two voted against.

Alderman Alan Robinson proposed that Limavady UUP councillor Aaron Callan and Ballymoney DUP Alderman John Finlay should represent the committee at any hearing.

This was agreed by members.

Speaking after the meeting local resident, John Steen said he was ‘pleased’ with the decision, saying it was a ‘step in the right direction’.

He added that the residents had ‘many concerns’ about the application.