Dromara protesters have welcomed a Lisburn City Council Planning Committee decision to defer an application for a wind turbine at Mullaghdrin Road East/Hill Road.
Recom mended for approval by planners, the application came before Monday’s meeting of the committee at Lagan Valley Island, where a delegation of concerned Dromara residents gathered in opposition.
Plans for a wind turbine in the area first caused a stir back in 2012.
“There have been minor modifications made to the proposal over that intervening time,” said protester Paul Campton ahead of Monday’s meeting, “and residents have had to continue the fight on a regular basis.
“However, almost out of the blue the planners have now deemed the plan suitable and it is going forward for approval . . . the residents were informed of this only last week.”
In May 2012 residents mounted a campaign against plans for a turbine of up to 250Kw and rising to a height of 55m from base to blade-tip (higher, as protesters pointed out, than the 51.59m Nelson’s Column).
Common objections included the size of the planned turbine and its visual impact; noise; electrical interference with televisions, radios and mobile phones; the effect on farm animals and wildlife; property devaluation and the potential for more of the same.
Mr Campton said this week: “Two years ago residents got together to ensure that an offshore sized wind turbine was not passed by planners on a local farmer’s land. The size and scale of the structure in a picturesque yet well-occupied rural area was so out of keeping with the interests of the majority.
“Many Councillors supported us in preventing this plan from going ahead. There were over 120 letters of objection to the proposal and the original plan was actually withdrawn having been overwhelmingly disagreed with at the Lisburn Council Planning Committee.”
The renewed, and department-approved, plans saw a large group of residents gather at the council offices to demonstrate what another protester, Peter Allen, called “their considerable opposition”.
“The residents have been fighting this proposal,” he said, “since April 2013 following the refusal of permission by the Planning Service for a similar project at the same location in 2012.
“There have been over 100 written objections to the proposed scheme from what is a significantly populated rural area with numerous homes situated within a half mile radius with great potential for disturbance from noise, detrimental impact on wildlife which abounds in the area and includes many bird species, some of which are already under threat and would include the recently re-introduced red kites regularly seen in the immediate vicinity.
“In addition a further major consideration is the potential visual impact on the skyline and when viewed from the northern side of the locality the turbine would rise over 40 metres above that skyline.
“We are grateful that the Lisburn City Council Planning Committee proposed a deferral on the decision pending further consultations.”