Wind farm developers have revealed that they are on track to submit their planning application to build up to nine turbines at Belford Burn before the end of the year.
EnergieKontor say the 100m tall structures at Sionside Farm would produce enough green electricity each year to power more than 11,000 homes in the wider Berwick area.
The firm has submitted a scoping study to Northumberland County Council and is awaiting the outcome of that before drawing up a firm design for the scheme.
Project manager Michael Briggs, speaking at Belford Parish Council’s meeting, said: “The scoping study has been with the council for a couple of months now and once we get that back we will be able to instruct our design consultants appropriately and, depending on how that goes, it’s likely the application will be made by the end of the year.”
However, wind farm protesters voiced frustration that they had learnt little more despite being four months down the line since the proposal was announced.
Chris Craddock, of Middleton Burn Action Group, said: “It’s high time they came up with some facts so we can open up a dialogue with them. Once again they have come up with very little of substance.”
It did emerge, however, that EnergieKontor will not site the turbines, if approved, within 800m of any residential property.
Mr Briggs reaffirmed a commitment to providing a community fund of £67,500 per year, or £1.5m over the 25-year lifespan of the wind farm, which could be used on environmental, social, economic or educational improvements.
Councillor Brenda Stanton raised concerns about the potential difficulties of access to the site through the village during the construction phase. Several residents also expressed fears about potential damage to their homes and roads if the turbines are brought in from the A1, uphill past the quarry and down past the market square where they would take the tight right turn on to West Street.
Coun Stanton said: “There has been a lot of concern, particularly given the recent incidents where a turbine went off the road at Otterburn and could not get round the corner at Lowick.”
Mr Briggs said: “We have no fixed route in mind and have identified another route but we are currently looking at a route through Belford to see if it would be feasible and if there is room at junctions and carriageway widths to get the turbine parts through. The work we have done so far indicates it is possible.”
Concerns were also raised about the potential impact on tourism, particularly in the Kyloe hills.
The developers indicated they would put the cabling underground onsite and there would be further discussions on how it would be connected to the sub-station at Paxton. There would be no pylons but poles and wires is an option.
Coun Geoff O’Connell querried whether there is the grid capacity for both Belford Burn and the neighbouring plan for 16 turbines at Middleton Burn, Swinhoe Farm.
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