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Wind firm may lodge appeal against refusal

A renewable energy developer could lodge an appeal after a community wind farm application was rejected by East Ayrshire Council.

The proposal to build an eight turbine High Cumnock Community Wind Farm, situated on land between Cumnock and New Cumnock, was strongly backed by the local community groups.

The developers claimed it would deliver clean, green energy and an estimated £33 million shot in the arm for the local economy over the 25 year lifetime of the project.

East Ayrshire Council, in recommending refusal of the application, noted that 470 letters of support were received and only eight letters of objection. Those supporting included the two statutory community councils and many local businesses as reported by the Chronicle.

Developer Banks Renewables is now considering whether to appeal against the decision.

Colin Anderson, development director, said: “We are understandably disappointed by the decision of East Ayrshire Council to refuse the application for High Cumnock Community Wind Farm.

“In making its decision the Council stated it did not feel that the identified benefits of the project outweighed the Council’s view of the visual impact the eight turbines would have on the landscape.

“We do not agree with this assessment.”

He continued: “High Cumnock Community Wind Farm would have resulted in an estimated £33 million windfall for the local area over the project’s life. It would also have supported 173 local people into employment, training or further education through a five year employability scheme and provided an opportunity to work with local training company Netherthird Community Action Training, NCAT. These jobs are over and above those employed constructing, operating and maintaining the wind farm.

“Communities were also hoping to use their estimated £4.8 million of community revenues to deliver the exciting action plans that they’ve developed over the last year or so, with the support of East Ayrshire Council.

“We’ve already had a number of the project’s supporters urging us to challenge the decision due to the desperate need for the investment this unique project would bring to the area. We will take this into account when considering whether to appeal against the decision.”