Wadebridge turbine windfall of £1m blows in
THE WADEBRIDGE area has secured a £1 million windfall from a turbine company to spend on community projects.
The cash will be provided by Renewable Energy Generation Ltd (REG) after the company won planning consent for five giant turbines to be erected on St Breock Downs.
The community benefit fund will be shared between the town and parishes neighbouring the wind farm site, none of which raised objections to the planning application.
Under the agreement, a panel drawn from representatives of each community will oversee the funding and the money will be administered by the Wadebridge Renewable Energy Network (WREN).
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Cornwall councillor for Wadebridge, Scott Mann, said he was excited about the opportunities the windfall would provide for projects that would benefit the area.
The company will donate £40,000 per year over the 25-year lifespan of the wind farm.
Mr Mann said: "I'm absolutely thrilled that this amount of money has been secured and I can think of a number of projects I'd specifically like to see happen now.
"One is a new skatepark for youngsters in Wadebridge which can be funded entirely from the money REG has agreed to provide, and which the company can fund upfront.
"I'd like to get the young people involved and invite skatepark designers to Wadebridge to see what they can offer.
"There is also a problem with the road to Burlawn which needs to be improved. There have been a number of accidents and I would like to see that road widened,'' said Mr Mann.
One parish which will also benefit from the windfall is Withiel where the turbines will be visible.
Cornwall councillor Mick Martin, who represents the parish, felt sure the community would have a number of projects they would like to see undertaken.
"The renewable energy company did not want the responsibility of distributing the money itself, so it looks as if a joint independent committee will be set up with representatives of each parish helping to decide where the money goes. I can see the Withiel community standing to gain some real benefits,'' he said.
The five new 100m-high turbines will replace the 11 at St Breock Downs which were erected in 1994.
REG acquired the wind farm two years ago with the aim of repowering the site to almost treble its energy generation.
The company expects to start installing the new structures next year.
Jim Wood, REG Windpower's development manager for the St Breock Repower project, said: "We were delighted with the high levels of support for the project throughout our public consultation and of course very pleased that Cornwall Council's planning committee voted overwhelmingly to approve the scheme.
"Not only will the new modern turbines generate around three times more clean electricity than the existing wind farm, good causes in the local area will benefit throughout the wind farm's working life.
"We plan to work with WREN, an extremely impressive local organisation, and representatives of the local parishes to distribute the funds.''