Whitehead wind turbine would be ‘blot’ on scenic coastline

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Fears have been raised that some of the most scenic views along the Islandmagee and Whitehead coastline could be blighted by a wind turbine.

Whitehead Golf Club has lodged an application to erect a 46.5m high turbine at McCrae’s Brae.

While the Planning Service website states that no decision has yet been issued on the application, the Times understands it has been recommended for approval.

However, the proposal has received a stormy reception from some local residents, with 40 letters of objection submitted to planners.

Peter Craig, a professional wind farm developer who lives on Cable Road in Whitehead, said the proposed turbine would be “inappropriately sited”.

He added: “I don’t think the communities of Whitehead and Islandmagee are sufficiently aware of these plans or appreciate the impact the turbine is going to have on the scenic views from Whitehead toward Blackhead path and the lighthouse.

“It will also impact on views from the soon-to-be-opened Gobbin’s cliff path when looking back along the relatively untouched east coastline of Islandmagee toward Blackhead.

“The visual impact of this development would be completely unacceptable; it would be a blot on the landscape.”

Meanwhile, another resident who lives in the vicinity of the proposed development claimed the application “makes a mockery” of the planning process, pointing out that a previous and similar application had been rejected by planners and was also refused on appeal.

A spokeswoman for the Planning Service responded: “A new application may be acceptable where a previous one was deemed unacceptable if additional information is presented which overcomes previous concerns.”

She added that the Department had followed the proper process and stressed that all consultee responses were “carefully considered”.

Speaking on behalf of Whitehead Golf Club, honorary secretary Robin Patrick said: “Whitehead Golf Club has made a significant contribution to the town over the years and I would be disappointed if people thought we were doing something that would have a negative impact on this area.

“However, one asset that we have is an abundance of wind and this turbine represents a significant financial opportunity for the club.

“I take people’s concerns on this issue very seriously, but we have followed the proper planning procedures and it is for the Department to decide whether this development should go ahead.”