THE iconic ‘Red Road’ between Largs and the Meigle could be ‘ruined forever’ campaigners against a wind farm development have claimed.
Burcote Wind have appealed North Ayrshire Council’s decision to block a string of wind turbines 1km south east of Skelmorlie and are now taking the matter to Scottish Ministers in a bid to overturn it.
If approved, the famous route would be widened to allow heavy plant and infrastructure to be delivered to the site by a convoy of heavy good vehicles.
Campaigners claim that would destroy it for future generations.
The local authority’s planning chairman Tom Marshall this week slammed the firm for delivering a ‘complete snub’ to local opinion.
He said: “Despite the planning committee, under my Chairmanship, unanimously refusing permission for a 150m tall wind farm, the applicants have decided to appeal the decision.
“The planning committee decided on 10 different points that the proposal was contrary to the local development plan and in so doing reflected the views of more than 200 objectors
“It is a complete snub to those people and the local democratic process.
“They do not accept the view of the council that Routenburn Road is unsuitable for transporting the very large wind farm components. It would give rise to the unacceptable loss of trees and hedges.
“Parts of the road are to be be doubled in width to almost six metres, which is almost 20 feet.
“This work will devastate a well-used country road and will destroy habitats forever.
“The Red Road will be ruined for future generations.”
Independent councillor Ian Murdoch says the damage done would be irreversible.
He said: “The Red Road would be left in an unrecognisable state. The ruling by North Ayrshire Council is in place to protect the environment and local history – nothing should trump that.
“Widening it to allow for all this machinery doesn’t bear thinking about – it is one of the most beautiful spots overlooking Largs. The residents who live there are up in arms over this.”
Skelmorlie-based MSP Katy Clark added: “This windfarm is highly inappropriate for a number of reasons. It encompasses a Site of Special Scientific Interest and is adjacent to an area protected for the benefit of local wildlife and there are multiple households within a couple of miles who would suffer from the effects of low frequency noise.
“It is also clear that the proposed access route is entirely unsuitable for HGVs and proposals to widen Routenburn Road will cause catastrophic damage to trees, hedgerows and verges.”
A spokeswoman for Righill told the News they are following the appeal process which is open to them.
They said: “In the Environmental Impact Assessment for the development, it states that the Routenburn Road will be repaired and upgraded in accordance with council planning regulations to make it suitable for the proposed traffic.
“There will be a detailed traffic management plan that will be agreed with the council and be tightly controlled. There would be an average of 15 HGVs using the roads per day in peak construction months and abnormal loads will be transported at off peak hours to avoid traffic restrictions as much as possible.
“Through our socio-economic analysis it has been surmised that the works required will minor adverse effects.
“We have reviewed over 140 sites and put this one through a rigorous feasibility study, inclusive of transport assessments. Rigghill Wind Farm stood up to the assessments as a positive site for development.“