Winners AND losers

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Supporters and opponents of Selkirk’s community wind farm are claiming victory this week after the results of a postal ballot were revealed.

The Selkirk Regeneration Company, which organised the vote, concluded: “This demonstrates that the swell of opinion in the TD7 postcode area (Selkirkshire) is that a clear majority is in favour of developing a wind turbine project of some kind in the town.”

This interpretation is, however, refuted by local businessman Peter Field, who launched a last-ditch campaign for local people to reject any such development.

Last month, the SRC sent voting papers to 3,700 households across Selkirkshire with children as young as 11 – an eligible “electorate” of some 6,500 people – being invited to vote yes/no to three options.

The choices, listed as options 1, 2 or 3, were respectively: three 102-metre high turbines north of the town on land at Sunderland Hope (generating annual income to the community of £670,000); a single 79-metre turbine west of Gala Rig on the South Common (£110,000); or three 40-metre 50kW turbines, also on the South Common (£11,000).

On Wednesday, an SRC press release stated: “The results of the poll are as follows: number of votes counted – 949; number voting positively – 603; number voting no to all three options – 346. Thus, 63 per cent voted in favour of at least one option with 37 per cent voting no to any turbines.”

But Mr Field said the results showed “an unequivocal rejection of each proposal”.

“For option 1, 394 voted yes but 555 voted no, for option 2, 391 voted yes and 558 voted no, while for option 3, 389 voted yes and 560 voted no. For each site, around 41 per cent voted in favour, while around 59 per cent voted against, so Selkirk has clearly rejected each of the sites proposed by the SRC.

“It would be a grave injustice for any organisation to show its contempt for the wishes of the majority by proposing wind turbines at any of these sites.

“I believe the SRC should now consider its position and perhaps concentrate on alternative fundraising projects that do not divide the community.”

Full story – page 6