Minister backs wind farm plan
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A church leader has backed plans for a controversial wind farm in Perthshire.
Hundreds of locals have objected to plans for 14 turbines at Logiealmond, but the Rev Iain McFadzean insists the proposals are “welcome.”
The minister of Auchtergaven and Moneydie Parish Church believes the project’s developers would pour cash into the community if given the green light.
AMEC are behind the application, and a spokesman last night confirmed they would be prepared to support important community projects— including partial restoration of Bankfoot Church.
The 19th century building was reduced to a blackened shell by a fire in 2004, but Mr McFadzean insists AMEC funding would provide it with a sustainable future as a “heritage centre.”
The company has already been in talks with the minister to that end and, despite the concerns of many campaigners, he is hugely enthusiastic.
He said cash could also be earmarked for a new “eco-friendly” community centre in Bankfoot.
Other potential projects include restoration of a 19th century church tower on a hilltop near Bankfoot which has stood derelict for more than four years.
“The opportunity to secure and develop the future of Bankfoot is always welcome,” Mr McFadzean said.
“The fact that funds may be available through the production of renewable energy is very appropriate as we complete our low carbon building and seek to educate and encourage people on the care of our natural environment.
“Our community is very excited about the new facilities which will soon be opened, and we are always looking for ways to sustain funding and develop further.”
The potential to provide a bright future for the local church is also something Mr McFadzean welcomes.
“The old church is a landmark building in Bankfoot,” the minister said. “We have been seeking permission to restore the building for several years. Many in our village have a great emotional attachment to both the church and its history.
“We propose to turn it into a heritage centre with a viewing platform looking out to the stunning surrounding scenery.”
Mr McFadzean insists cash from AMEC could play a vital role.
“The project will secure the church’s future and, hopefully, give many the opportunity to learn more about the history of Bankfoot and its residents,” he said.
“I welcome the fact that AMEC’s funds could be channelled into this project.”
Full restoration of the church in Bankfoot following the fire was not considered to be a feasible option, but the community hopes to restore its iconic tower.
Meanwhile, a new church—incorporating the community centre—is being built nearby.
However, securing funds from the developers of a wind farm could prove a contentious move.
More than 500 objections were submitted after AMEC lodged their plans for 14 turbines at Logiealmond.
“We feel very strongly this is not an appropriate thing to happen here and will be very, very destructive,” said Anne Lindsay, of the Amulree and Strathbraan wind farm action group.
AMEC say the 107-metre turbines would generate two megawatts of energy each for the next 20 years— enough to meet the electricity needs of 15,600 households.
By Dave Lord
10 June 2008
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