CAMPAIGNERS will have to wait to learn the fate of plans for a hydro station on the River Calder after council chiefs voted to delay a decision on the controversial development.

Councillors had been set to decide whether proposals by Ashrona Power Systems Ltd (APSL) to construct a dam and pipeline upstream leading to a power station next to Lochwinnoch Cemetery would be given the go ahead.

The pipe is set to be 4.5km-long and begin just to the south-east of the visitors centre at Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park.

READ MORE: Controversial Lochwinnoch hydro station to get the go ahead

Despite vociferous opposition from some villagers and park users, Renfrewshire Council’s head of planning, Fraser Carlin, had recommended permission be granted, subject to conditions.

More than 350 people have signed a petition calling for the “unspoilt” nature to be protected, with Lochwinnoch Community Council submitting a formal objection.

At yesterday’s meeting of the Communities, Housing and Planning Policy Board, it was decided to postpone a final decision in favour of a site visit by council officers.

The Gazette: The hydro station is set to be built next to Lochwinnoch CemeteryThe hydro station is set to be built next to Lochwinnoch Cemetery

Members of the campaign group ‘Not the Calder! Save our Glen’ say the decision is a “glimmer of hope” after they had resigned themselves to defeat.

Lochwinnoch woman Emily Eden told The Gazette the glen is the jewel in the village’s crown and should be protected.

The mother-of-four said: “This is a real glimmer of hope for us. I did a wee dance when I heard the news. I might even go and buy a bottle of wine to celebrate.

“I had given up and just assumed it was always the people with money who win in these sorts of fights.

“There’s so much wrong with the plans. The hydro station would be built next to a cemetery. Call me old fashioned but I believe you should respect the dead.”

Scott Queen, another of the group’s members, hopes council officers will take the opportunity to understand the full impact the development will have on Lochwinnoch.

He said: “I think it is a sensible decision from the council officers to visit the site and see the potential disruption to the cemetery and the surrounding areas.

READ MORE: Campaigners hope people power can sink plans for Renfrewshire hydro station

“We are absolutely delighted that at least we will have the opportunity to present further evidence against what is proposed.”

The Gazette: Plans submitted to Renfrewshire Council show the proposed location of the stationPlans submitted to Renfrewshire Council show the proposed location of the station

Local councillor Andy Doig has also come out in opposition to the plans and has asked for the board to listen to local opinion. 

A Renfrewshire Council spokesperson said: “Members of the council’s Communities, Housing and Planning Policy Board have agreed to a site visit to further consider the potential impact of the proposed hydropower pipeline and turbine house on the surrounding area.”

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