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Consultation attendees say a clear ‘No’ to Belford Burn

Villagers who attended consultation events about the proposed Belford Burn wind farm last week have said a resounding ‘No’ to the proposal.

An exit poll taken every day that the EnergieKontor exhibition was in situ at the Bell View Centre found that 98 per cent of those who attended reject the plans.

The ballot paper simply asked ‘Do you approve of EnergieKontor’s proposal?’

Three papers were spoilt by lack of name or postcode of the voter; four voters answered ‘For’, and an overwhelming 339 said they were against the plans.

Kerry Noble, vice chair of the Middleton Burn Action Group, which is fighting proposed developments at Belford Burn and Middleton Burn, said: “The community has spoken yet again.”

EngergieKontor representatives were on hand at Bell View to answer questions about the proposed development on May 9, and information boards remained in situ for the public to view, within working hours, for a further three days.

After being barred from the building at EnergieKontor’s request, MBAG members took an exit poll in the car park on each of the days the Belford Burn information boards were on display. They also provided those attending the consultation on the Thursday evening, when it was staffed by EnergieKontor representatives, with queries.

Mr Noble said: “We supplied visitors with a list of almost thirty very important questions which need answering. It was reported back to us that the EK staff appeared unable or unwilling to answer even the simplest.

“Many other questions arose concerning their material displayed and statements on such and we will shortly be compiling a full report for NCC planners on the many shortcomings.”

Concerns were also raised that many villagers had not been made aware that the consultation was taking place.

“EnergieKontor said they had posted 500 notifications from a Royal Mail supplied list of residences for a 5Km radius of the site,” Mr Noble explained. “However, each voter was shown a copy of that letter and only 11.85 per cent said they had received such.

“It is very interesting that the mailing list for the village newsletter, for Belford village alone, shows a requirement for 642 residences and does not include the outlying settlements.

“We believe that less than half of those effected were notified of their exhibition.”

It is thought EnergieKontor will submit a formal planning application to Northumberland County Council for the nine-turbine Belford Burn development next month.