February 28, 2014 | Community News
Committee and players of Cumnock Juniors have expressed their support for our proposed wind farm in East Ayrshire with a new banner at the club.
It has been hung outside The Nock’s Townhead Park home and states: “High Cumnock Wind Farm Equals High Hopes”.
“The community needs this investment. Voice your support at every opportunity.”
Cumnock Juniors plays a huge role in the life of Cumnock and hopes its efforts will convince more people to contact councillors and pledge support for the community wind farm scheme, which would generate up to £5.8m revenue for the local area.
George Morton, Secretary of Cumnock Juniors Football Club, said: “As one of the largest community groups in the area we understand the difficult economic times the town has faced.
“Cumnock has been hit particularly hard by the economic downturn so we see the proposed wind farm as a real opportunity for the town to be injected with a new lease of life.
“As a club we’ve already seen the benefits of having Banks Renewables in the area. We trust the company, we’re proud to have their name on our shirt and believe they would be a valuable addition to the community for the next 25 years if the wind farm goes ahead.
“Certainly we will be working hard to promote this message to our fellow community members so that the right decision is made.”
Eric Bennett, Secretary of the social enterprise, Cumnock Juniors Community Enterprise added: “As well as opportunities for local businesses, the share of revenue that would be invested back in to the community could be used to fund jobs and training initiatives, as well as supporting many other groups and organisations.
“Our joint project with Cumnock Rugby Club to install a synthetic pitch at Townhead is one that could benefit from the community investment the proposed wind-farm would bring. There will be may other community groups that could also benefit.
“It ultimately comes down to balancing the case for and against the proposal. If it’s a choice between looking out to a distant turbine or seeing that the kids have positive alternatives to ant-social behaviour, I know what vision I’d rather have.”
We have spent two years consulting and meeting with local people and businesses. That shaped the Community Partnership approach, which will ensure 2.5% of the wind farm revenues go to the community, with the chance to purchase an equity share option up to 5%.
Since it was formed in 1912, the club has been part of the fabric of town life and currently has 150 players between six to 16 and a thriving, 450-strong social club – and currently benefits from a two year sponsorship deal with Banks Renewables. That has helped the club widen the reach of its work through extra coaching sessions and by providing training for disabled children.
While the new banner is high profile, the club has been backing our proposals by discussing the wind farm and the benefits that it would bring to the local community and featuring the company in match programmes and banners.
We are awaiting a planning decision from East Ayrshire council on our proposals for an eight turbine, 27MW wind farm at High Cumnock.
Colin Anderson, development director, said: “The support from Cumnock Juniors Community Enterprise and the backing they have given our project is invaluable.
“We’ve spent huge amounts of time meeting local people and believe that more and more of them understand the real, long-term and tangible benefits this project would bring to the area from creating and supporting jobs to helping sports group flourish.
“So we are delighted that Cumnock Juniors are now urging people to go a step further with that support, by writing to councillors to let them know the groundswell of local opinion that is behind our scheme.
“It’s important to remember that we are also offering the community the chance to buy an equity share of the wind farm – as much as 5%. That would bring in even more income for the area, with local people deciding where that cash should be spent and invested.”
For more information on the High Cumnock wind farm please visit www.banksgroup.co.uk/high-cumnock.