Next month could see plans submitted for windfarm

A windfarm developer is finalising controversial plans for the nine-turbine Belford Burn site to the west of the village.

Energiekontor unveiled the latest details of the scheme at a consultation event last week.

Project manager Michael Briggs explained that a number of changes had been made to the scheme as a result of residents’ comments, including to the haul route.

“We’ve taken the majority of construction traffic out of Belford, and we have made alterations to the site accesses as well,” he said.

Regarding the submission of a planning application, he added: “It’s hard to be specific as we need to consider feedback from the consultation, but I’d say it will be a question of weeks – not days or months.”

The plans have been greeted with dismay by the Middleton Burn Action Group (MBAG), which opposes ‘inappropriate’ wind developments in the Belford area.

MBAG chairman Chris Craddock said: “We know they have made some changes to the haul route, but it still doesn’t solve the problem of the turn into West Street.

“We feel it’s going to be dangerous to do that and they’re taking the route past the schools which is dangerous.

“It will be interesting to see the application. We’ll have to look at the documents in detail and take it from there.”

The group took an exit poll of those who attended with 339 of 346 votes cast against the proposals.

But not all in the village are against the scheme. Stephen Birdsall, of Gilbert Birdsall Ltd, a concrete supplier based in Belford, said: “In 2012, 50 per cent of the concrete that Gilbert Birdsall Ltd supplied went to the Middlemoor and Wandylaw wind farms.

“Had it not been for those two projects then I think we would’ve had to lay men off. Instead we took men on.”

“Not only were we really busy as a result of the wind farms but so were our suppliers – aggregates, cement, add mixture, fuel.

“Love them or loathe them, they have created a huge amount of work in the local area.”