Retired couple Christine and Sandy Millar should be sitting with their feet up – but instead they’re battling both cancer and a proposed wind farm development near their dream home.
From living their dream – to a living hell.
That’s the message from cancer-striken grandmother Christine Millar, and her husband Sandy, as energy giants plough on with plans to build massive turbines just a few hundred metres from their dream retirement home.
The couple say the proposed Linfairn development of 17 turbines in Straiton will not only ruin their view, but devalue their biggest asset and leave them blighted by continuous light flicker.
And, at a time when former ballet teacher Christine should be convalescing, the Millars are being forced into the biggest fight of their lives.
The picturesque village is one of just two locations on the planet which is both home to a UNESCO biosphere and a dark sky park.
But the rural beauty spot is fighting a total of five proposed windfarm developments that would leave them encircled by a ring of 130 towering metal giants.
And residents say the impact on the countryside is too high a cost to pay for the renewable energy source.
Earlier this month, South Ayrshire Council threw villagers a lifeline and officially objected to the WilloWind Energy’s proposed Linfairn development.
But WilloWind Energy are undeterred, and say they will press ahead with their plans.
And the that leaves the Millars – who live in the closest property to the planned turbines – with an uncertain future.
The couple moved to ‘Knocksae’ country cottage in 2001 after being smitten by the generous available space, which gave Christine space to breed her beloved Irish Wolf Hounds.
And Sandy, 68, who worked as a freelance IT contractor for blue chip companies, took advantage of the property’s large barn to pursue his love of restoring old cars.
But in 2006 Christine, a mother-of-four, and granny to 11, was struck down with blood cancer disease lymphoma, and has been battling the illness ever since. And their difficult situation was exacerbated when energy firms rolled in, vying to position turbines, some as high as 126 metres.
Sandy explained: “She can never not have lymphoma, it’s always there.
“You can’t operate and take it out.
“It’s been very stressful for both of us, and I think there’s an element of stress that can jolly it along.
“I’ve been banned from talking about windmills at bedtime because of it.
“We came here to a beautiful corner of Scotland with views up and across the hills to where the valley disappears between them.
“But these things are not stationary, they’re moving about and cast a horrendous flickering shadow.
“It would be like watching an old black and white silent movie playing at the wrong speed.”
Sandy says the country move was inspired by a bid to become mortgage free.
But now the couple fear their only investment will plummet in value should developers get the green light.
“With 17 turbines on that hill above us, our cottage would be worthless.
“To get an equivalent home on similar ground you’d need to spend £250,000 – which we don’t have,” he said.
Christine added: “I feel we’ve won the battle, but not the war.
“If the windfarm did go ahead I would be devastated – life will be hell.
“We are really custodians of the countryside, and it’s our childrens’ children who will be clearing this up.
Now the Linfairn plans are likely to face a public enquiry, despite being pegged as the most successful public objection in Scottish history.
Chairman of the group, campaigner Lala Burchall-Nolan said: “ We believe that the number of objections raised to the Linfairn Wind Farm proposal may be the single highest number ever raised against a wind farm in Scotland and had the widest geographical spread of support ever seen – people from all corners of the globe, who trace their ancestry here or who have visited and were stunned by the beauty of the place all spoke out in our defence. We know the Energy Consents and Deployments Unit were completely overwhelmed by the responses.”
A spokesperson for WilloWind Energy said: “We are disappointed that the South Ayrshire Council regulatory panel voted last week to raise an objection to our proposal.
“We believe that by taking this decision without the benefit of Scottish National Heritage’s response, the panel has taken a view without full access to all the necessary information.
“However, we respect their decision and now move on to the next stage of the determination process.”
It is understood Sandy and Chrsitine may face an anxious wait of over a year before their fate is decided by the Scottish Government.
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