November 8, 2012

Councillors can’t make up minds about Quixwood

The Berwickshire News | 8 November 2012 |

Claims that three local community councils support the 14 turbine wind farm planned at Quixwood, Grantshouse, appear to be have been overstated by developers Banks Renewables.

Documents lodged with Scottish Borders Council show that only Abbey St Bathans, Bonkyl and Preston Community Council support the development. Cockburnspath and Cove Community Council have objected to it and Grantshouse Community Council, while not actually objecting do question the impact of the turbines and the high amount of traffic involved

A total of 20 households in the area objected to the turbines, while there were eight letters of support.

Scottish Borders Council planners were recommending that councillors refuse planning permission for the wind farm because of its position in the landscape, height and layout of the turbines and cumulative effect but at Monday’s meeting councillors couldn’t reach a decision and instead continued to look for further discussions with the developer on height and layout issues.

East Berwickshire councillor Joan Campbell (SNP) said: “There is no real objection from the community councils who don’t seem particularly worried about the height of the turbines.

“Grantshouse is largely looking away from the turbines and it doesn’t seem they would be substantially affected.

“Regarding the view of Cockburn Law, there is already pylons there.

“In the course of my lifetime this entire landscape has changed significantly. The amount of tree planting has very much changed this landscape.

“I don’t find them (turbines) particularly off putting.”

Mid Berwickshire Councillor, Donald Moffat (SNP) said: “This is the easiest wind farm application I have come across.

“Usually we get vocal voices against wind farms but this has been the opposite.

“Community councils have told me that the vast bulk of people support this wind farm.”

East Berwickshire councillor Jim Fullarton (Con) called for a traffic management plan to avoid any problems associated with Drone hill

“It is a queston of balance, said Councillor Fullarton. “It is the scale of the machines which I cannot accept.

“Local communities get a lot of benefits from these wind turbines and that does cloud judgment.

“We welcome reasonable developments in the right place and right scale but I think this one is too big.”

Phil Dyke, director at Banks Renewables, said “We are understandably disappointed at the decision by the Borders Council to defer our wind farm proposal at Quixwood Moor.

“Given the substantial and sustained support for this proposal, received from local individuals, businesses and all four surrounding community councils, we feel that the decision to defer is a missed opportunity.

“We have worked hard in establishing this support as part of our development with care approach, constantly ensuring that we are engaging with the local communities throughout the planning process.

“If approved, the Quixwood Moor development could bring up to £7.1m worth of employment opportunities to the area as well as providing a generous community benefits package worth up to £3.2 million for the local community.

“We will now take time to consider our position. However we still hope that the officers of the Borders Council can find a way to reach a positive decision on our application as soon as possible.”

Should the wind farm eventually get planning permission, access will be from the A6112 road near Hoardweel Farm. No decision has been made yet whether the electricity generated will be connected to the National Grid at Berwick or Eccles.

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