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Villagers aim to blow windfarm plan away

Villagers are bracing themselves for a fight with windfarm developers.

For WilloWind Energy has lodged a planning application for a 25-turbine Lindfairn Windfarm, near Straiton.

WilloWind claims it has consulted extensively since its original 29-turbine plan.

And chief executive Martin Davie said: “In another sign of our commitment to listen to the concerns of local residents, the application now provides detail of the access route to the site which, crucially, avoids Straiton.”

But Bill Steven, chairman of Save Straiton for Scotland campaign, brands the WilloWind application ‘totally inappropriate’.

Mr Steven blasts: “WilloWind have certainly not listened to the views of the community.

“Anything but. Their community engagement has been pathetic, with absolutely no contact made with the many people who will be directly impacted by this windfarm.

“If they were truly listening, they would know the feeling of the community and the views of eight politicians we have had out to visit the area.

“All these elected representatives, from all parties across the political spectrum, have one thing in common – they all say NO to the Linfairn proposal.”

But Mr Davie insists: “It is especially pleasing to have had such active involvement from local people in getting the plans to the application stage.

“We’ve gone to great lengths to respond to the issues raised with us about this development, and have included a number of measures in our application which we believe fully address them.”

None of this cuts any ice with Mr Steven who spells out: “Mr Davie, for the benefit of any doubt, your proposed development is NOT welcome by the vast majority of the people of Straiton.

“We will be building a professional objection to submit to the Scottish Government on your totally inappropriate application.”

Save Straiton for Scotland has employed the services of planning, landscape and noise professionals to help articulate their objections.

And they also aim to enlist one of Scotland’s top QCs.

Meanwhile, Mr Davie insists the project will bring a range of benefits to the area, from new jobs to commercial opportunities, as well as long-term community benefits during the life of the windfarm.

“Youth groups, local charities and voluntary organisations are among those who could benefit,” said Mr Davie.