Residents oppose billionaire’s wind turbine plan

The proposed site of wind turbines at Ballaman, Port Erin, is to the left of the photograph. Below, John Whittaker

The proposed site of wind turbines at Ballaman, Port Erin, is to the left of the photograph. Below, John Whittaker

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A plan to put three wind turbines on the headland overlooking Port Erin has angered residents who say it will be a blot in an area of outstanding natural beauty.

And the local authority has requested it has ‘interested party’ status because, although the proposed turbines are in Rushen parish, they will overlook Port Erin and be clearly seen from Bradda Head.

John Whittaker of Peel Holdings Group.''supplied

John Whittaker of Peel Holdings Group.''supplied

The plan, 14/00632/B by multi-millionaire John Whittaker is to erect three, 10Kw wind turbines at Ballaman, Ballnahowe Road, Rushen.

Each turbine will be 15 metres high and have a seven-metre diameter blade. They will be grey, which is designed to make them blend against a rural background (trees, hedges, leaves, etc) and also against the coast and skyline.

Property magnate John Whittaker is the chairman of the Peel Group, which owns a number of properties and businesses, including Liverpool Airport, and has an estimated fortune of £2,300m, placing him 31st in the Sunday Times rich list.

His company moved into the energy sector in 2008 with the opening of Scout Moor Wind Farm on the West Pennine Moors in Greater Manchester.

His home, Ballaman, is the former home of racing driver Nigel Mansell. Within the property’s boundaries is a helicopter landing site.

In his planning application, the notoriously publicity-shy businessman argued: ‘Due to the siting and small scale of the proposal, the turbines would have only a very minimal visual impact on landscape quality that would be mitigated by the significant, positive effects that the turbine would have for the wider environment ... On a higher tower the turbines would produce more energy but could be considered to be too prominent in this location.

‘The proposal therefore demonstrates a fair and measured balance between electricity generation, turbine efficiency and potential visual impact.’

However, residents disagree.

One, who did not want to be named, wrote: ‘The Ballaman wind turbines threaten Port Erin’s most important asset – the landscape character and visual impact of the one of the two green headlands which enclose its beautiful beach.

‘This spectacular view has been the foundation of the town’s tourist trade for over a century. Siting three 45-foot wind turbines there will start to give this iconic headland an industrial appearance – a slap in the eyes for the people of Port Erin.

‘If this proposal is approved, how many wind turbines will there be on this peninsula in 10 years’ time?

‘In recent times, the planners have allowed Ballaman to mushroom from a large house into a veritable hamlet of many buildings.

‘It’s time they reined in the urbanisation of a greatly loved view.

‘This is a proposal which could start industrialising an iconic view for the people of Port Erin and its visitors.

‘This view has major economic, social, and cultural value for the whole community.’

Port Erin Commissioners agreed that given the amount of public concern over the plan, they would represent the public and apply for interested party status.

The Isle of Man Examiner will have more on this story in Tuesday’s paper.

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