Windfarm plans threaten village

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Protesters claim that the transportation of material to the site of a proposed windfarm will cause severe disruption to their village.

Members of Middleton Burn Action Group (MBAG) made the claim after Energiekontor applied for planning permission for its proposed nine-turbine Belford Burn development.

Within that application, it states that the route for large components such as rotor blades and tower sections will be through the centre of Belford, down North Bank and into West Street.

MBAG has raised significant concerns about the effect the traffic will have on the village if the plans are given the go-ahead.

Chairman Chris Craddock said the transportation could ‘severely interfere’ with village life.

He said: “It is clear from the plans that these mammoth loads, many almost 40 metres long, as long as four double-decker buses end-to-end, some five metres wide, as wide as two buses side-by-side, and some vehicles weighing close to 100 tons, will cause severe disruption to the village.”

It is expected that roads through the village will have to be closed to allow the loads through. MBAG says that in Market Place, loads will ‘oversail’ pavements, meaning that pedestrians will have to be excluded from the area, and turbine components will pass within a few inches of residents’ houses.

Mr Craddock added: “So tight is the space that part of Market Place, the centre of the village, will have to be ripped up for perhaps 10 months or more so that these enormous vehicles can get through.

“A bollard which protects the pedestrian area will have to be pulled out, two beautiful flower planters, so carefully tended by village children, will be removed, and three flowering cherry trees which contribute so much to the setting of the historic Market Place will be uprooted.”

Protestors also fear there could be road-safety problems with the removal of the give way sign at the top of West Street. They say further along the road, traffic calming measures, which protect the village’s first school, will also have to be taken out.

Mr Craddock said: “We will be fighting these plans as hard as we can. The destruction of the village centre to allow turbine components through is just one example of Energiekontor’s total disdain for Belford, its surroundings and its people.”

The application does not state whether loads will go through the village during the day or night but action group members are concerned that if they arrive by day road closures will effectively cut the village in half.

The plans will go before a committee in the near future.