FCC host a public discussion on the community benefit fund being established by the developers/operators of the Hill of Glaschyle wind farm.
Logie Estate and Muirden Energy Ltd, the developers and operators of the Hill of Glaschyle wind farm are intending to establish a community benefit fund with an annual value of £138,000 for 25 years.
There are a number of options for the format of this fund and the FCC have engaged in discussions with Logie Estate and Muirden Energy Ltd to try to help shape the decision of which way to take the fund forward. In order to gauge the community opinion on what the fund should look like a public discussion was held at Edinkillie Community Hall on Saturday 12th August. Over two sessions around 30 local residents were taken through a short presentation on some of the most commonly adopted approaches to community benefit funds and a proposal the FCC would like to take to Logie Estate & Muirden Energy.
A copy of the full presentation used can be accessed via the link at the bottom of this page but the figure below shows the FCC outline proposal.
After a lively question & answer session feedback was sought from the attendees as to what they would like the format of the fund to be.
Amongst the people present there was overwhelming feedback that a long term development approach, via a development Trust or Company, should be adopted.
Below is a list of the comments made along with some points of clarity from the FCC.
“Fully in favour of a Development Company to pursue further funding and to promote a more coordinated and organised approach to using funds. Having experienced issues with motivating volunteers, having a company will result in a better outcome”
“Definitely go for the Development Trust – better flexibility & opportunity to leverage other funding sources”
“Great Oaks from acorns grow!”
“For a sustainable future I think a Development Trust is the way to go”
“There are some excellent successful examples of this model”
There were some comments expressing a need for further clarity around what the structure of a development entity would take and how its activities would be controlled.
“Or Community Interest Company if the structure fits better”
“Some clarity on who Development Company Board members / Trustees would be?”
“Development Trust – YES PLEASE….but I am rather anxious that developments could alter the lovely character of Finderne and spoil the very reason that I live here”
These comments around structure and remit are very important and will need to be addressed in very fine detail if this format of fund is taken. There are pro’s and con’s of different legal structures and these would all be investigated before anything was actually set up. There are a number of highly successful development entities around the country and learning from their experience, successes and mistakes would be a key “next step” if the fund holders support this approach.
The comment around the risk of “spoiling” the area is an important one. The development of the local community is about preserving the things that make the area wonderful, developing with sensitivity and creating a legacy that sustains.
There were also comments about what the outputs of a development approach could be and whether the fund should be completely restricted to Finderne.
“Definitely want the hall (Edinkillie) to be a community hub as Dunphail has no village centre”
“Improved sports facilities at the school, but available to the local community, will encourage young families to settle in the area and thus reduce the risk of the school closing”
“Must include CC areas around Finderne”
The examples given in the presentation of what a development entity could get involved in are just that, examples. Another key activity for a development process is identifying, in detail, what the opportunities are for community enhancement. This takes time and effort and forms a critical part of the work plan for the first year of any development entity.
Not everyone present was of the opinion that the FCC proposal is the best way to proceed.
“Use Berry Burn who are established and have a proven track record. Setting up a Development Trust will create another layer of bureaucracy and much of the fund may be taken up by admin costs rather than go to the community”
We fully respect this view and the FCC applaud the excellent work that the Berry Burn Community Fund has achieved. However, the FCC has developed this proposal as a direct result of feedback received from people in Finderne. Strong views have been expressed that the community benefit arising from the Glaschyle wind farm should be prioritised and focussed on those most impacted. Aggregating funds into a “bigger pot” does not, simply in itself, make things more efficient or improve targeting of resources. There is no doubt that a community development trust or company is a more heavily regulated entity than the type of Trust Deed used for Berry Burn but that is because the approach has different aims. There will definitely be administration and management costs associated with a development entity but, like any well run commercial business, these costs are incurred because they allow ongoing, and growing, investment back into business…..and in this case the “business” would be the Finderne community.
The FCC do not want to see something created that is in “competition” with the Berry Burn Fund or any other community orientated organisation. Working in cooperation with other organisations where mutual advantage and benefit can be gained should be a core principle in whatever form the Glaschyle community benefit fund takes. The FCC simply want to see the best possible use of a valuable financial resource for the benefit of the residents of the area.
We will continue our discussions with Logie Estate and Muirden Energy Ltd. and hopefully contribute to their decision making in a positive way…..…whatever the final outcome.
August 12 2017
Full presentation deck : Engagement session 120817 Edinkillie Community Hall
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