CAMPAIGNERS have won their battle to halt plans for a hydro station on the banks of the River Calder after councillors blocked the development.

Ashrona Power Systems Ltd (APSL) had hoped to construct a dam and pipeline upstream, leading to a power station next to Lochwinnoch Cemetery.

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

READ MORE: Site visit delays decision on controversial plans for River Calder hydro station

But the plans were booted out by councillors at yesterday’s meeting of the communities, housing and planning policy board following a site visit by council officers.

The council’s head of planning, Fraser Carlin, had recommended approval of the plans in a report to the board, despite high-profile opposition.

The Gazette: Plans submitted to the council show the proposed route Plans submitted to the council show the proposed route

Members of the ‘Not the Calder! Save our Glen’ campaign group had resigned themselves to defeat but were absolutely delighted with yesterday’s decision.

Lochwinnoch woman Emily Eden told The Gazette: “This is just fantastic news. It seems there really is some justice in the world.

“One of the best things about living here is the beautiful, unspoilt surroundings.

“We’ll be having a party to celebrate. We are just over the moon.”

More than 500 people signed a petition calling for the “unspoilt” site to be protected, with 80 out of 82 representations made to the council opposing the plans.

Concerns raised included fears over the location of the station, the impact on house prices and a lack of consultation with residents.

Councillor Emma Rodden, who represents the village, said giving the plans the green light would have set a “dangerous precedent.”

She told The Gazette: “It seemed to be a case of ‘it won’t be that bad’ – but that’s not good enough for the people of Lochwinnoch.

“The strength of feeling against these plans in the village was astronomical.”

The Gazette: Cllr Emma Rodden submitted the motion to dump the plans Cllr Emma Rodden submitted the motion to dump the plans

READ MORE: Petition launched against Lochwinnoch hydro station on River Calder

As an official objector to the plans, Councillor Andy Doig, who also represents Lochwinnoch, did not take part in the vote and, instead, withdrew to the public gallery.

Speaking after the meeting, he said: “I welcome the fact that board members refused the application.

“This would have led to the desecration of the only woodland burial site in the whole of Renfrewshire. It would’ve also threatened valuable biodiversity.”

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