COLERAINE councillors, outraged at plans by the University of Ulster to build two giant wind turbines close to houses on the Cromore Road, are to complain to Stormont.
Planners told members at last week’s meeting of Coleraine Borough Council they were recommending approval of the scheme which was first highlighted by The Times back in December.
However, there was no support for the development within Council with councillor Christine Alexander describing it as “appalling” and calling for both the DoE and DETI Ministers to get involved in the row.
The University, which already has an existing turbine on their campus, is hoping to add an additional two 900k units with 87 metre wide blades. Fifty-five local residents at Dundooan and Cromore Roads have objected on the grounds of noise and shadow “flicker”.
Councillor and MLA, David McClarty, said he was “disappointed” at the planning service’s decision to approve given the sizable opposition to the scheme.
“Fifty-five people are going to suffer from this,” he said. “They already suffer from the existing turbine and if this goes ahead their problems will increase three-fold.”
DoE planning officer, Adrian Brown, stressed to members that his department was merely following government guidelines on the promotion of renewable energy adding that noise from an average family was greater at 55 decibels than a wind turbine at 35 decibels over a similar distance.
Councillor Adrian McQuillan MLA accused the planning service of making special provision for the university when they were quite willing to reject smaller turbine proposals in non residential areas. He proposed that Council reject the application, a proposal which was readily adopted by members who voted 17 to 1 to send it back to planners.
However, angry that Council’s role is still only consultative, councillor Alexander said that a council recommendation to refuse was not enough.
“We know that us asking for this to be refused means absolutely nothing,” she said.
“We need to get the DoE Minister (Alex Attwood) involved as well as the DETI Minister (Arlene Foster), who is after all pushing this policy.
She added: “I do not know why the university - our partner and neighbour - would want to inflict this on innocent residents. I believe this is an appalling applications.”