Community councils vote yes to windfarm plans

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Two community councils have voted yes to groundbreaking plans to develop and part own a community wind farm, which if approved they say would deliver a major boost to the local economy and fund a pipeline of community projects in the area.

Maybole and Kirkoswald joined Maidens and Turnberry Community Council to vote yes to enter into a partnership with Banks Renewables and Cassillis and Culzean Estates to pursue the development of a seven turbine community wind farm at Knoweside Hill.

Following this decision, North Carrick Renewables, the company set up to take forward the unique community partnership project, expects to submit its plans to South Ayrshire Council in December.

Following the decision by the two largest community councils in the area, many locals are now urging key decision makers at South Ayrshire Council to give them the green light.

Through the partnership agreement the communities secure 4% of all revenue generated by the wind farm, estimated to be around £9.6m over its 25-year life span.

In addition the communities expect to take up their option to purchase an increased stake, which should result in even greater community revenues being delivered by the project.

The much needed community revenues would be ploughed directly into local groups, projects and job-creation initiatives – identified as priorities by the communities themselves in their community action plans.

The Community Councils within North Carrick have now set up the North Carrick Community Benefit Company (NCCBC) to coordinate grant applications for community funding from renewable energy projects across the region. It is also intended that NCCBC will administer the communities’ revenues from Knoweside.

Peter Mason, Chair of South Ayrshire Community Councils forum, said: “Communities want this - we have consulted and have come back with a strong and positive yes.

“We joined together and every household in North Carrick was consulted. Over 80% of the community who filled in the survey believe this wind farm could create a lasting legacy for the area.

“This project will affect the lives of every person living in North Carrick for the better - every last man, woman and child, not just a chosen few.

“One of the most obvious and immediate benefits is that it will create jobs, which are badly needed in this area.”

“The communities’ representatives have been working with Banks Renewables and Cassillis and Culzean Estates on this project for the last eight years and we believe we’ve negotiated the best deal that has ever been proposed for a wind farm of this scale in Scotland.”