Locals urged to turn out for windfarm exhibitions

Locals living in the North Carrick area are being invited to attend a set of public exhibitions on a community wind farm.

Maybole, Dunure and Kirkoswald, Maidens and Turnberry community councils are encouraging local people to discuss proposals for Knoweside Community Wind Farm, which could support major regeneration for the area.

The consultation, led by the community councils, will provide information on the regeneration plans and the proposed partnership with local landowner, Cassillis and Culzean Estates and Hamilton based energy firm, Banks Renewables; and ask residents if they support the proposal. Should the response be positive, a planning application for a seven turbine development at Knoweside Hill could be submitted by the end of October 2014. Up to 23.8MW of energy could be generated from the site, enough to power over 18,700 homes annually.

Peter Mason, Chairman of Carrick Community Councils’ Forum said: “This is a tremendous opportunity for the people of North Carrick to be part of something truly unique.

“Never before have local communities been given the chance to take a lead role in the planning of a community wind farm so I would encourage local people to seize the opportunity by coming along to find out more.

“Not only does Knoweside Community Wind Farm have the potential to provide the area with clean, green energy, our local communities and businesses would get a serious boost from the funding it would provide.

“It would also create local jobs for local people which in an area that is 8th in the tree of deprivation in Scotland would certainly have a profound effect. This could really be the answer to a lot of the challenges facing North Carrick at the moment so I would urge local people to get involved and have their say in helping to shape plans for a brighter future.”

Members of the Banks Renewables team, who have a wealth of experience designing sympathetic developments, tailored to the needs of local communities will be on hand to discuss the details of the proposals.

Colin Anderson, development director at Banks Renewables, said: “We’ve never before had a project of this scale with such a high degree of community involvement and active participation. It’s therefore unique and provides an exciting prospect for the people of North Carrick.

“Now is the time for locals to come and talk to the Partnership about how they would like to see the proposals taken forward and to explore the opportunities it could bring to the area.

“We are hoping for a substantial turnout, as this is the chance for local people to make a decision that could create a positive legacy for generations to come.”

If the community councils’ consultation finds widespread public support for the scheme, the Partnership, through the recently established North Carrick Renewables Limited will submit a planning application for Knoweside Community Wind Farm to South Ayrshire Council.

The Partnership results in the communities receiving 4% of the wind farm’s revenues, estimated to be around £9.6m over its 25 years life span.

The communities also have the option to purchase an increased stake in the wind farm, which could result in increased revenues to support the exciting community action plans they’ve developed.

The community councils have ensured that locally based companies would be given the opportunity to tender for a significant proportion of the available construction work if the project is approved and this could result in an estimated £4 million of contracts being awarded to firms based in Carrick and South Ayrshire.

The proposed turbines would be sited on land belonging to the Cassillis and Culzean Estates, which has committed to funding a major reinvestment programme across the Estates, which in turn will provide further employment for local people and a long term boost for the local economy.

The public exhibitions will take place on Monday 29th September at Summer Church Hall in Maidens and Richmond Hall, Kennedy Hall in Dunure on Tuesday 30th September and Carrick Centre in Maybole on Wednesday October 1st, between 3pm and 7pm at all venues.