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Belford wind farm plan ‘threatens Market Place’

Wind farm protestors in Belford are warning that the transport of turbine components could ‘interfere severely’ with village life.

Members of the Middleton Burn Action Group (MBAG), which opposes any wind development in the Belford area, have raised concerns about the impact traffic to the proposed nine-turbine Belford Burn development would have on the village.

The application submitted by developer EnergieKontor shows that the route for large components would be through Belford village centre, down North Bank and into West Street, with loads “oversailing” pavements in the Market Place.

MBAG chair Chris Craddock said: “It is clear from the plans that these mammoth loads, many almost 40 metres long – as long as four double-decker buses end to end, will cause severe disruption to the village.”

Having studied EnergieKontor’s plans, MBAG say that should they be approved, the centre of the village would have to be “ripped up” to allow the enormous vehicles to get through. A bollard which protects the pedestrian area would have to be pulled out, and two flower planters would be removed. Three flowering cherry trees would also be uprooted. MBAG have also highlighted road safety concerns.

Mr Craddock added: “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.”

Energiekontor said the delivery period for turbine components through the village would only last for one to two months. Project manager Michael Briggs said: “We would need to temporarily remove some items of street furniture but would reinstate them in no worse a condition than we found them.

“The intention is that there would be no real sign of the works having taken place. To say that the centre of the village would be ‘destroyed’ is therefore a bit unfair.”

Mr Briggs added that it was important for the works to be viewed in their wider context. “If the Belford Burn Wind Farm went ahead, the community fund generated would be the largest ever fund to come from an individual wind farm in Northumberland,” he said.

“This substantial community fund could be used for a variety of projects and initiatives in the local area, including making improvements to the market square and the village generally. In many ways, the wind farm actually has the potential to enhance the market square, not threaten it.”