Frank Cassidy, Reporter
An energy company have re-submitted an amended planning application for a
windfarm near New Cumnock after it was blocked twice.
Innogy Renewables UK Ltd had applied for permission in 2012, which was
refused by East Ayrshire Council in 2014 with a further appeal in 2015 also
Their latest proposal includes a number of financial incentives which the
firm say ‘could create a multi-million pound investment fund for New Cumnock’.
Called The Ashmark Hill Community Windfarm, it is proposed to install a a
seven-turbine development just south of the village.
Project manager, Karen Fox, said: “This is a rare opportunity for a project
to facilitate millions of pounds of fresh investment into East Ayrshire and
in particular the area around New Cumnock while, at the same time,
generating home grown renewable electricity.
“We have been in discussions about this proposal with a working group of
community representatives for some time. We have committed to offering the
community up to a 15 per cent share of net revenue, which is an opportunity
for New Cumnock to take a meaningful stake in the scheme and, in addition
to the community benefit fund, to share in the financial benefits of the
wind farm once operational.”
Following responses to an investment consultation in 2017 and a discussion
with community representatives, regeneration consultancy Regeneris have
produced an independent report to highlight possible investment options
through funding from the Ashmark Hill Community Windfarm.
Potential opportunities identified in the report include projects to
benefit job seekers, start-up and small businesses as well as larger scale
projects such as the development of a major tourism attraction in the area.
In addition to a guaranteed community benefit contribution of £5,000 per
megawatt of installed capacity per year, which could deliver around
£3million over the lifetime of the windfarm, Innogy has also committed to
offering the New Cumnock Development Trust the opportunity to invest in the
Ashmark Hill is 5km (3.1 miles) south of New Cumnock.