December 15, 2020

Plans for Three Towns turbines size of Salisbury Cathedral approved by counsellors

By Sarah Hilley, Local Democracy Reporter | Ardrossan Herald |

Three giant wind turbines, each the height of Salisbury Cathedral, will be built close to the Three Towns after councillors approved the proposal.

Councillors approved a change in height of the turbines at a council local review body meeting last week.

The three wind turbines will be placed at Sorbie Dairy Farm, which is about three miles from Stevenston and about one and a half kilometres from Ardrossan.

Council officers had originally rejected the application to extend the size from 104 to 125 metres saying it would “overwhelm” the lowlands landscape. That’s 410ft tall and 68ft taller than the original proposal

Objector David Slater told the meeting the change in height is equivalent to five double decker buses stacked on top of each other.

But renewable firm Energiekontor UK won an appeal to to make them bigger after politicians overturned the decision of North Ayrshire Council planning officials.

It is understood Energiekontor is offering a community benefit fund annually for the local area.

Stevenston Community Council said it backed the bid to extend the height as it will mean funds for the region.

Irvine South Councillor Robert Foster said the change in height “isn’t too great at all.”

The politician put forward a motion at the council’s local review body to grant the height adjustment.

Councillor Tom Marshall, chair of the body, put forward an amendment to refuse the developer’s request, stating: “I believe 125 metres is excessive.”

Conservative Councillor Timothy Billings who seconded the amendment said: “We have heard from planners that this is a significant difference and they will be significantly larger. There are plenty of sites within North Ayrshire that could be used for wind turbines.

“These sites should be approached for potential development.”

He pointed out the site is very close to Ardrossan and the other towns.

Councillors Robert Barr, Ian Clarkson, Christina Larsen, Robert Foster, Ellen McMaster, Ronnie Mc Nicol and Donald Reid all voted for the motion to allow the height extension.

Councillors Marshall and Billings were the only two who wanted to reject the bigger structures.

The plan was originally approved in 2014 but became unfeasible financially. The developers say they need taller turbines to generate enough energy.

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