Straiton sets against “idiotic” turbine plans

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RESIDENTS of Straiton have been reduced to tears at the prospect of up to 150 wind turbines surrounding their village

Feeling was so strong after the public exhibition of plans for Willowind’s 29-turbine Linfairn site to the southwest of the village that community councillors hosted a public meeting last week on plans to “encroach” on Straiton’s scenery from almost all directions.

Community councillor Bea Holden said: “Many people could not speak for anger. Some went home and cried and just about everyone went home feeling devastated,” she said.

And with concerns including destruction of scenic beauty, loss of business and property value, and potential health effects in their minds, more than 100 people turned out on Wednesday for a presentation demonstrating the extent of potential wind farm development around the North Carrick town.

Community Council chairman Henry Anderson told them: “Hadyard Hill is the biggest wind farm in Britain, but it will be small compared to what could end up surrounding our village.

“There a lot of very worried people in and surrounding the village at the moment with regard to the extent of what is being planned.”

It was revealed the locals could face around 130 turbines across five development sites within a matter of miles – plus an additional 27 turbines less than ten miles away, near Dalmellington – and surrounding Straiton from north to southwest.

The audience heard from a series of speakers, including Mark Gibson from nearby Craigengillan, in East Ayrshire, who told of his own community’s struggle against developers and pledged their support.

“The one good thing about this is it makes people really sit back and think about what they have got to protect, and I am really inspired by the number of people here,” he said.

Ayrshire artist Merlin Currie, from Barr, also spoke of her village’s experience with Hadyard Hill, before Visit Straiton website creator Jonathan Meuli, of Genoch Cottage, condemned the turbine threat as “absolutely idiotic”.

Lalage Burchall, of Craigfad, to the south of Straiton, said she was horrified at the wind power plans. “We are going to be surrounded by these monstrosities,” she said. “We have to stand up and fight.”

Scotland Against Spin campaigner Graham Lang travelled from Fife to attend Wednesday‘s meeting and said Straiton’s challenge far surpassed anything he had seen elsewhere.

“This is quite horrifying,” he said. “I have never seen an area that is under so much development pressure. There is nothing like this anywhere else in Scotland that I can see.”

At the end of the meeting, a vote was taken with 107 votes against any turbines and no votes for. A large number of residents signed up to fight against the possible imposition and to form a pressure group.

In view of the outrage expressed at the Straiton meeting, the community council is organising meetings in both Crosshill and Kirkmichael to inform residents of the proposals.

As yet, all six wind farm proposals remain in the planning stages, and Jill Cronin, Head of Community, Enterprise and Development for South Ayrshire Council, said the relevant information on each would be fully assessed and consideration given to any concerns raised.

She confirmed that every planning application received by South Ayrshire Council is treated on its own merits.