Hoprigshiels windfarm approval could pave the way for 500 new homes

BERWICKSHIRE Housing Assciation say the building of their community windfarm at Hoprigshiels, Cockburnspath, will herald the start of a new era for affordable housing in the region.

Approval for the application for the three turbine development was granted by Scottish Borders Council’s planning committee last week, after a vote went 8-4 in its favour.

Praising the council for handing a massive boost to the housing association’s mission to deliver more affordable homes in Berwickshire, its chief executive, Helen Forsyth commented, “Without a doubt, Hoprigshiels Community Wind Farm is the single most important development ever proposed by BHA.

“In providing planning consent, SBC have paved the way for a BHA building programme lasting a generation, providing potentially 500 new homes for Berwickshire, benefiting not only those in housing need today, but households and communities for generations to come. A remarkable legacy for a modest three turbine wind farm.”

Berwickshire Housing has worked hard over many years with partner charity Community Energy Scotland (CES) in developing proposals for a community wind farm in Berwickshire, all profits to be divided between the two charities (two thirds to BHA, one third to CES) to be used in pursuit of their charitable aims.

In May last year the formal application for planning consent for Hoprigshiels Community Wind Farm was made, with the proposals subsequently amended following community consultation.

The changes to the proposed development which included a repositioning of the 115 metre turbines, a reduction in height, and the planting of woodland, has in the view of BHA, created a better project, sympathetic to its setting yet large enough to be financially viable and thereby deliver considerable sums for community and charitable benefit.

The three turbines of 115 metres to blade tip will produce the equivalent of 6000 households’ worth of electricity a year, considerably more than the total amount of electricity used by all BHA tenants combined.

And as well as receiving the backing of Scottish Borders Council, Berwickshire Housing’s application was also supported by Cockburnspath and Cove Community Council.