A trio of remote Clydesdale villages were celebrating the news this week that their annual ‘windfall’ from being close to windfarms is to more than double.
Now, on top of the £30,000 a year the folk of Woolfords, Auchengray and Tarbrax were guaranteed as compensation for living near the Muirhall Windfarm, the communities are to get a further annual payment of £51,700 in Community Benefit payments from the nearby Harburnhead Windfarm.
On top of all this, the local developement trust WAT IF? (Woolfords, Auchengray and Tabrax Improvement Foundation) is to get two `one-off’ payments totalling a quarter of a million pounds from their windpower developer neighbours,
All of this is to be ploughed into providing services for these once neglected villages that far bigger communities in Clydesdale can only dream of.
The benefits so far have included a major refurbishemnt of Woolford Village Hall, a mini-bus to improve local transport links and defibrillators at strategic points in these communities far distant from the nearest hospital.
Greatly improved broadband is near the top of the WAT IF? shopping list for the future.
The latest windfall came in an agreement signed last week by WAT IF? and LDV Harburnhead Ltd, the owner of the 22-turbine Harburnhead Wind Farm.
WAT IF? will now administer the funds in line with the Community Action Plan (CAP) which was created in 2013 through consultation with the communities.
The CAP forms the basis of all WAT IF?’s own projects and it also supports other local groups with a grant scheme which has helped a range of locally led initiatives such as extra-curricular equipment for the local school, landscape improvements in the villages and a range of events at Tarbrax Village Hall.
WAT IF? development officer Jemma Black said: “These new community funds, alongside our existing sources of funding, enable us to consider larger and more long term projects such as significant improvements to our local broadband service. We can investigate options that would not have been open to us previously.”