Community councils across North Carrick have shown strong backing for wind turbine plans that could see them net £9.6m over 25 years.
The plans for the seven turbines, which would be situated at Knoweside Hill, went on display at a series of public exhibitons held in North Carrick last week.
Those who attended in Maidens, Dunure and Maybole showed a strong level of support for the proposals with 61% of attendees over the three days supporting a plan to enter into a partnership with Banks Renewables and CCE and submit an application to South Ayrshire Council.
If successful the seven turbine community wind farm at Knoweside Hill would directly fund community action plans, thereby helping power the regeneration of North Carrick.
Mark Fletcher, chair of Maybole community council, said: “Generally, everyone who turned out to the public exhibitions seemed enthusiastic about the plans.
“It provided the ideal forum for locals to ask us more about the details of the proposals, and as you would expect, many were highly supportive of how the site promises to provide the communities with long term benefits.
“Of course, as with any project of this scale, there were some questions about the turbines, so it was reassuring to have the experts from Banks Renewables team there to answer any queries on the technical aspects of the development.
“Overall it was great to see so many people involved in the project and I hope the outcome of the exhibitions will mark a bright new future for the area.”
The proposed Partnership would result 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 revenue to support the community action plans they’ve developed.
Stuart Telfer, community spokesperson for Kirkoswald, Maidens and Turnberry, said: “The public exhibitions represented a fantastic opportunity for local people to find out more about the proposals for Knoweside Community Wind Farm. “From the community councils’ perspective it has been refreshing to have been involved right from the start.
“This has given us a chance to have a real say in shaping the plans and ensure that the proposal delivers what our communities want and need. In the past big international companies have come steam rolling in, but Banks are a family owned firm who seem to have a genuine desire to listen to the people closest to the proposed site.”
Dorothy Ward, community spokesperson for Dunure said: “Based on the responses we received, it seems that the people of Dunure back the proposals, which in my view represent a huge opportunity for the local community.”
Using the feedback from the public exhibitions, the three community councils will now make a decision on the partnership proposal. If this is positive, the partnership will be formalised ahead of the submission of a planning application.