August 6, 2013

Belford villagers fear turbine deliveries will bring destruction

By Brian Daniel | The Journal | 6 August 2013 |

Villagers last night told of their fears that their community will be destroyed if vehicles carrying massive wind turbine parts are allowed through.

People living at Belford are alarmed that wind farm developer Energiekontor UK is proposing to send some vehicles delivering parts to its planned site near the village through the community’s main street.

One resident last night said that her home could be hit while an action group fighting the development claimed traffic calming measures, cherry trees and flower planters would have to be ripped out to allow the vehicles through.

However, the developer insisted some materials would only have to be removed temporarily.

The company recently applied to Northumberland County Council for planning permission for nine 100m turbines at Belford Burn.

Having studied the application, the Middleton Burn Action Group has voiced fears over the company’s plan to route over 80 deliveries of rotor blades and tower sections through the village centre.

It claims the passing through of vehicles almost 40m long, 5m wide and weighing up to 100 tonnes, will requires road closures, bringing “severe disruption.”

The group says they will pass over pavements at Market Place, making them no go areas for pedestrians, and that turbine parts will pass within a few inches of some homes.

It also says deliveries could be made any time day or night, “interfering severely” with village life if the former and shattering its peace if the latter.

The group claims Market Place at the centre of Belford will have to be “ripped up” for ten months at least.

It says a bollard which protects a pedestrian area will have to be pulled out, two flower planters tended by village children removed and three flowering cherry trees “which contribute so much to the setting of the historic Market Place” uprooted.

The action group also claims a give way sign at the top of West Street will have to be removed as will traffic calming measures which protect Belford First School on the same street.

Chairman Chris Craddock said: “We will be fighting these plans as hard as we can. The destruction of the village centre to allow turbine components through is just one example of EnergieKontor’s total disdain for Belford, its surroundings and its people.”

Fiona Renner-Thompson, 52, and farmer husband Nick Renner, also 52, live on the corner of Market Place.

Mrs Renner-Thompson, an administrator for the farming business, last night told how she feared the delivery vehicles coming with centimetres of the couple’s home, causing them to believe their property could be hit.

She also told how the couple are worried turbine parts will pass over their garden and that they may to give part of their property as a result.

Mrs Renner-Thompson said: “I just can not believe that a private company can have the power to disrupt so many people’s lives for so long. It is very worrying.

“I can not believe they want to bring them through a village.”

The resident claimed she had not been contacted by the developer which she said is “not on really.”

Last night, Michael Briggs, Energiekontor’s project manager, said: “We understand that residents have concerns relating to construction traffic coming through Belford.

“It’s an issue that’s been raised by people as part of our pre-planning consultation process and is something we empathise with.”

He claimed only 5% of delivery vehicles would come through the village.

Mr Briggs added: “The delivery period for turbine components through the village would only last for one or possibly two months, and we certainly don’t envisage the need for any road closures.

“We would expect each delivery to take no more than 5 minutes to pass through the village, travelling at a similar pace to agricultural vehicles.

“Where turbine delivery vehicles pass the market square we would need to temporarily remove some items of street furniture. These items would only be taken away at the start of the turbine delivery period and we would reinstate them one/two months later in no worse a condition than we found them.”

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