Debates continue to rage over whether Ashbourne should be one of the first areas in Derbyshire to embrace wind power ““ by allowing four large turbines to be built.
Villagers in Brassington and Carsington, the two parishes closest to the proposed site in Carsington Pastures, were given the opportunity last week to see the plans in detail at public exhibitions.
The exhibitions were held in Brassington Village Hall last Tuesday and in Carsington School on Thursday.
Several representatives from applicants West Coast Energy were on hand throughout the day and say they were delighted with the turnout.
Speaking after the events, land and development manager for the Flintshire-based company, Neil Exton, said: “We were very pleased with the public attendance, this is one of the busiest public exhibitions we’ve ever held.
“A lot of people turned out to ask us very pertinent questions about the plans and see our exhibits and we would hope we’ve managed to put people’s minds at ease a bit and allay their fears.
“We’ve not finished analysing our official feedback forms yet, but I believe early opinion polls seem to suggest the majority in Brassington were in favour, but there was a slim majority in Carsington against it.”
But chairman of the Brassington Parish Council, Brian Flinders, explained that public feeling at Monday’s Parish Council meeting seemed to sway very heavily against the plans.
He said: “Around 30 members of the public turned up to listen to the meeting, so it’s obvious the people of Brassington are very concerned.
“We realise there isn’t much time, so we are wanting to act quickly and team up with other councils round the area to put forward an opposition.
“Saving energy is very important, but wind power is inefficient and a lot of residents are worried about the noise.”
An extraordinary meeting was held in Carsington on Friday, where more concerns were raised not only over noise, but over the general suitability of the site.
Adam Summerhayes, a professional violinist who recently moved into Carsington, was at the meeting. He said: “A lot of people were there, and there seemed to be some rather mixed feelings.
“There were a lot of discussions on noise levels and, on the whole, people were not satisfied that they were far enough away not to be affected.
“It was also pointed out that there were mines under the site, and someone else was concerned that the shape of the land surrounding Carsington Pastures created a natural amphitheatre ““ echoing any sounds.
“Another point that angered people somewhat is the length of time the public were given to consider the plans. You’re supposed to get two years, but we only had three weeks.
“Carsington is supportive of wind power, and we would tolerate a wind farm if it were properly located.
“If these four turbines were a bit further away, none of us would really like it. But we wouldn’t object.”
By Gareth Butterfield
7 March 2007
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