Kelso turbine mix-up

Border Precision in Kelso.
Border Precision in Kelso.

Kelso community councillors did not object to plans for a wind turbine on an industrial estate because they thought it was for a local factory.

At last week’s February meeting of Kelso Community Council, members discussed the planning application for a 67m turbine on a site close to the Border Precision Engineering factory at Pinnaclehill Industrial Estate.

Eighty jobs were saved last spring when the previous incarnation of the firm, Border Precision, was rescued from administration.

A deal saw a business angel syndicate support a management buyout of the company from administrators. 
But the application for the turbine, which is expected to be determined by Scottish Borders Council planners within the next few weeks, has been lodged on behalf of the pension fund of those who were the former directors of the now defunct Border Precision, and which retained a 1.48 acre plot of land.

But Kelso community councillors believed the application was linked to the new firm of Border Precision Engineering, and said they were unaware of the involvement of the pension fund.

And it was for this reason that the community council did not lodge any objections to the turbine plans.

Community council vice-chairman Dean Weatherston claimed Provost John Bassett had been canvassed for support of the plans by someone claiming it would help protect jobs at Border Precision Engineering – the application mentions the possible supply of discounted electricity to the factory.

But Scottish Borders councillor Alec Nicol told them: “The application has nothing to do with the present factory.”

Fellow Scottish Borders councillor Tom Weatherston explained about the pension fund’s role in the matter.

It was at this point that Harry Tomcyzk, from the community council’s planning sub-committee, said he and others had not objected to the plans because they had believed them to be connected with Border Precision Engineering.

“That is why we did not object,” he said. Mr Nicol did not think it “fair” for Mr Tomcyzk and others to have had to consider the application while under such a misconception.

Asked to comment, Border Precision Engineering Ltd said it “neither supports nor opposes” the wind turbine application and that the company had not canvassed the community council to support the application.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the approval of the wind turbine application would neither jeopardise or safeguard the jobs at Border Precision Engineering Ltd,” said the firm this week.