An action group is rallying public support against proposals for a four turbine windfarm on Melton airfield.
Developer Wind Ventures wants to build two 426ft high turbines on one side of the B6047 Dalby Road and two more on the other side.
The firm is set to hold a series of exhibition events to inform people about its revised proposals.
But the Support Melton Against Rural Turbines (SMART) group, which claims the turbines would have a ‘devastating’ impact, destroying the countryside surrounding Melton, has organised its own public meeting. It will be held in Great Dalby Village Hall on Sunday, between 2.30pm and 7.30pm.
Group member and local resident John Gordon said: “Do we want our borough to be known as the rural capital of food or to be characterised by wind turbines so huge it becomes known as the rural turbine town?
“These are industrial scale machines that will frame the view of the town from every direction. From the south, all visitors will pass through a turbine gateway on either side of the main road – what an entrance!”
Fellow group member Anthony Paphiti, who lives in Great Dalby, said: “We’re trying to retain the beauty and tranquility of our countryside and protect important heritage assets. While renewable energy must be an important part of overall energy provision, the siting of turbines of this immense size in countryside and within a short distance of Melton will be devastating to the efforts to establish ourselves as a tourist centre. It will also destroy the settings of our important heritage assets at Burrough-on-the-Hill and St Lazarus Hospital.”
Mr Paphiti said there were already well over 100 people ‘actively interested’ in the group and word was spreading via its website, Twitter and Facebook page.
He said: “We want people to be aware there’s a group trying to do something to galvanise a local voice. It’s also about providing information about a lot of things wind turbine companies don’t mention or, if they do, only tell half the story. We’re trying to provide evidence to support what we say.
“Our main focus is on the airfield site but it’s broader than that. We also give support to other wind turbine opposition groups. This is a borough-wide problem affecting the whole of the countryside surrounding Melton. Sadly we’re being surrounded by these turbines.
“We’re not anti-renewables but it needs to be the right option in the right place. The whole focus has been centered on wind turbines. There hasn’t been a proper discussion about alternatives.”
Adrian Butler, project manager for Wind Ventures, said: “We’ve listened to what people told us at the last exhibitions and we now have a proposal which we think is OK. We’re keen to engage with the local community and hear what they have to say.”
As part of its revised proposals, the company is offering a community benefit fund of £40,000 per year for the 25-year life span of the wind farm. It is also offering to give 20 per cent of the value of the wind farm as a ‘community premium’, which could be spent on community initiatives as well as making a number of ‘environmental enhancements’ to its proposed scheme.
Wind Ventures is holding public exhibitions on its proposals on the following dates:
n Thursday, March 13 – The Edge, Dalby Road, Melton (4pm-8pm)
n Friday, March 14 – Great Dalby Village Hall (4pm-8pm)
nSaturday, March 15 – Carnegie Museum, Thorpe End, Melton (10am-1pm) and Burton Lazars Village Hall (2pm-4pm).
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