One of north Longford’s largest employers and a local community group are on collision course over the proposed erection of an “inhumane” 169 metre high wind turbine.
Granard based firm Kiernan Milling want to construct the turbine as part of an ongoing and large scale expansion of its premises on the outskirts of the town.
In a planning file lodged with Longford County Council last month, it outlined its intentions to seek a ten year planning approval for the structure at Granardkill, just off the main Ballinalee Road.
However, details of the proposal have been met with strong opposition locally.
In a statement issued by the recently set up ‘Granard Against Industrial Turbine’ group, its members said they had been left stunned by the plans.
“The Granard Against Industrial Turbine group strongly object to the proposed development of an Industrial Wind Turbine by Kiernan Milling,” read a statement, dubbing the size of the planned turbine as both “excessive” and one which raised significant safety concerns.
“To put in context, the proposed turbine will be more than 1.5 times the height of the Millennium Spire in Dublin which stands at 120m and 3.25 times the height of St.Mary’s Church (including spire and cross) and will soar well above Granard Motte, a protected national monument.
“The visual amenity of the area will be severely affected along with property values given the type and scale of the development.”
The group said, should Longford County Council approve its development, such a structure would have far-reaching and negative connotations for the future of the town’s much vaunted Knights & Conquests Heritage Centre.
Only last July, the venture was allotted over €600,000 from Fáilte Ireland to develop a state of the art heritage park which, when complete, is likely to see a near €4m investment being brought to the town.
“Another huge concern is the impact that this will have on the major tourism and amenity attraction featuring a “living model” of a Norman village which is to be developed at the site of Granard Motte,” the group added.
“This major tourist attraction is set to bring many visitors and much-needed income to the area. Not only will the proposed wind turbine dwarf the much-loved monument but it will also take away from the beautiful landscape and the 360 degree view from the summit of the Motte.
“The Knights & Conquests Heritage Centre is adjacent to this site and tells the story of the Norman invasion of Ireland. It seeks to attract many visitors to the area and the project only came to fruition after the site was bought as part of a huge community effort.”
The group likewise questioned the merit behind council planners giving the turbine’s development the green light in view of the local authority’s recent announcement it intended purchasing just over eight acres of land beside Granard Motte.
“This huge wind turbine could have a serious negative effect on the tourism industry and on the natural local heritage,” the group added.
“The opinion of the Granard Against Industrial Turbine group is that it is not humane, safe or responsible to place such a large industrial structure within the community.”
The deadline for submissions to Longford County Council over the planned development is this Friday (June 26) ahead of a final decision being made on or before July 17