I had to pinch myself when I read the sour grapes of an unnamed spokesman for the University of St Andrews. He was actually patting the University on the back for not engaging with local communities before submitting their plans for a cable connection between their wind farm at Boarhills and St Andrews (Windfarm cable link refused for University, 12/8/16) .
It is utter bunkum to say that “until planning experts and councillors are able to agree on what’s possible, we would simply be consulting on thin air”.
First, while the University has evidently spent a great deal of time and money “engaging” with expert planners aka outside consultants and officials in Fife Council’s planning department, they gave the councillors a wide berth. If they had spoken to elected members, they would not have been surprised that a majority of nine to three rejected their proposed route when it came to committee.
Second, getting a planning application consented is not a means of establishing what is possible. It’s a legal entitlement to develop regardless of what neighbours or others may feel. Does anyone for a second think that the University, having found out “what’s possible” by winning consent, would have altered its proposal one iota in response to concerns expressed by communities and residents? The University would have told them Fife Council approval means all impacts not checked by conditions are acceptable and that they are legally entitled to develop.
Third, one wonders if anyone involved with this project at the University of St Andrews actually understands what consultation means. Only dictators “consult” on a decision after a decision has been made.
I cannot imagine how the University could show its neighbours any less regard.