A WIND turbine plan could help boost training and create jobs following talks between developers and East Durham College over a new £1.25m fund.
Developer Infinis wants to build a five turbine windfarm on land at Wingate Grange and intends to create a community fund that could be worth around £1.25m over a 25 year period.
Preliminary talks have taken place between representatives of Infinis and college principal Suzanne Duncan.
Infinis and East Durham College have engaged widely with local stakeholders and have identified a lack of employment opportunities and skills training as key local concerns they want to tackle.
The company and the college intend to undertake a wider public consultation to gauge local support for any proposals before making a final commitment.
They will hold a series of events to collect ideas from students, business, community groups and trades unions on the best way to divide up the fund.
The community exhibitions will be held in Wingate, Trimdon and Wheatley Hill and there will be other events involving students at East Durham College, the East Durham Trust, the East
Durham Area Action Partnership and the East Durham Employability Trust. All will take place during the first week of April.
The finance for the new employability initiative will come from the community benefit funds that will be realised from the five turbine wind farm that Infinis is proposing to site at Wingate Grange if it receives planning approval.
Tim Mockridge, of Infinis, said: “If the windfarm is consented it will generate around £60,000 a year for community benefit in the local area and we want to meet as many groups as possible to discuss how that money should be spent.”
College principal Suzanne Duncan added: “The fund will be targeted at those most in need and in skills areas that we know local businesses require, therefore maximising the fund’s impact on local employment and economic growth.”