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Public has say on revised scheme

A developer hopes to sweeten the deal of a four turbine wind farm with the promise of financial benefits for the community – but protestors are unswayed.

Wind Ventures wants to build two 426ft high turbines at Melton airfield, on one side of the B6047 Dalby Road and two more on the other side.

The firm held a round of exhibitions to inform people about its plans for a financial community benefit package last week but its proposals failed to impress campaign group Support Melton Against Rural Turbines (SMART).

Wind Ventures wants to offer a one off up front payment to the community equal to 20 per cent of the value of the wind farm, prior to construction.

The hope is that the money could be used to kick-start a community project which will provide long-term benefits and the company is looking for residents to come up with ideas.

Once Wind Ventures submits its planning application to Melton Council in April, and if its plans are approved, it will be looking to set up a residents liaison group to carry the community project forward.

The developer is also offering a community benefit fund of £40,000 per year for the 25-year life span of the wind farm.

Adrian Butler, project manager for Wind Ventures, said: “Obviously we want residents to come up with their own ideas on how to use the money, but one thing we had considered was supporting young people by offering apprenticeship and training opportunities.”

Councillor Norman Slater, who attended one of the exhibitions last Thursday, said: “I think the money should be used to help provide activities for young people in the borough, such as a ten pin bowling alley, or it could be used to build a more fit for purpose community centre in south Melton to update The Edge SureStart Community Centre in Dalby Road.”

For some residents however, the community benefit package has not changed their outlook on the proposed development.

Russ Pride, of SMART, said: “they are proposing a very limited pot of money that will never compensate for the damage they are trying to impose on our local environment.”

John Gordon, of SMART, said: “If they care then let them pay for a fund to compensate local homeowners should there be a reduction in home values, or noise nuisance and health issues.”