A ground-breaking new partnership between community councils, local estates and a developer is seeking to build a community windfarm.
The Community Councils of Maybole, Dunure and Kirkoswald, Maidens and Turnberry are launching a major community consultation exercise on the regeneration proposals for North Carrick over the next three months, which includes a community wind farm.
They hope to secure support for the proposal that they say will guarantee the delivery of local action plans that have been developed by the communities over the last 18 months and will drive massive economic and social benefits into the area.
The three community councils have been working directly with the Cassillis and Culzean Estates and Hamilton-based developer, Banks Renewables, since the plans were initially discussed at Maybole Town Hall on 28 April, and thereafter approved “in principle” by each community council.
The partnership held its latest meeting on 24 July in Maybole Town Hall and backed the proposals for a wide-ranging and extensive local consultation exercise to kick off in August.
This will include a number of public events.
A new company, North Carrick Renewables, has been set up, which, if feedback from the community consultation supports the proposal, will formally partner with the communities and submit a community wind farm planning application later this year.
Stuart Telfer, spokesperson for Kirkoswald, Maidens and Turnberry Community Council, said: “What excites me most about these proposals is that it represents a genuine partnership between a respected developer, our own local estate and our community. There are always going to be mixed opinions about wind farms, but the bottom line is that we can’t live without energy and must start making our resources renewable. I’m looking forward to getting out into the community to hear what local people want and hope that this will result in a development that will be a long lasting asset to North Carrick.”
A community wind farm proposal at Knoweside Hill, south-east of Dunure, gives the local communities a direct stake in the eight-turbine project, which would result in an estimated £9.5million of community revenues over 25 years, which would fund the delivery of a range of specific projects prioritised by the communities within recently approved Action Plans.
Each local community council will now carry out a series of public exhibitions and events within the area to get detailed feedback from locals.
Mark Fletcher, spokesperson for Maybole Community Council, said: “It is fantastic to see that both the developers and the land owners are going about the planning process in such a responsible way and place so much importance in getting the local community councils involved.
“This is such a rare opportunity for local people to get involved in an exciting project, which could completely regenerate the area. I would urge people to come along and talk to us about how they would like to see the site develop as now is the time to have their voices heard.”
As part of its commitment Cassillis and Culzean Estates will undertake a major reinvestment programme if the community wind farm is approved.
Colin Anderson, development director at Banks Renewables, said: “ “All the local community councillors I’ve met are passionate about making a difference in their towns and villages and have actively helped develop the plans for the community wind farm. These become deliverable should the community wind farm be approved and in my view makes this unique proposal truly sustainable.”