‘Fight will go on’ say turbine protesters

‘The fight will go on’. That was the pledge of Dromara residents, opposed to a planned wind turbine, ahead of a meeting last night at which they expected the proposal to win approval.

According to protesters, just days before last night’s scheduled meeting of Lisburn City Council’s Planning Commmittee, 79 additional letters of objection were lodged with Planners, bringing the total number to more than 200.

Residents of Mullaghdrin Road East/Hill Road, Dromara and Dromore Road/Burnpipe Lane, Ballynahinch have been fighting a protracted battle against what they believe to be a proliferation of wind turbines in the area.

In June this year they secured a deferral on the Mullaghdrin decision and subsequently presented their case to the council’s planning committee.

Residents argue an area between Ballynahich and Dromara - known to planners, they say, as LCA 88 Dromara Craggy Uplands - is to be “swamped” by seven wind turbine applications just before the Planning Service hands over responsibility to local councillors early next year.

Spokesman Peter Allen said the area had been designated by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency as “highly sensitive to wind turbine development” but it was a sensitivity that was being overlooked by Planners.

“Unfortunately,” he added, “the bottom line appears to be that despite all the fine words by the Minister about listening to local concerns no one has conveyed this to his staff in the Planning Office.

“We do not believe that any serious consideration has been given to our point of view.”

Mr Allen said residents were deeply unhappy with the way in which their “genuine objections” appeared to have had no impact whatsoever with the Planning office.

“There is overwhelming opposition locally to this particular application which will be a considerable blot on our beautiful local landscape,” he said.