VILLAGERS living near a proposed wind farm are being invited to a series of public exhibitions to outline the proposal.

Energy company Infinis is proposing to build a five-turbine wind farm off the A181 at Wingate Grange, near Peterlee.

Public exhibitions will be held at Trimdon Station Community Centre on Wednesday (April 2), Wingate Community Centre on Thursday and the Greenhills Centre, in Wheatley Hill on Friday to explain the proposals in more detail. Meetings will take place from 2pm to 7.30pm each day.

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The company says it has already held meetings with East Durham College, the TUC and the North-East Chamber of Commerce to discuss the wind farm.

Infinis is offering to create an Employability Fund, worth up to £1.25m over the 25-year life of the wind farm, to help local people back into work.

Tim Mockridge of Infinis said: "Wingate Grange is an important development for us and we want to make sure that those living closest to it share in the economic benefits it will bring.

"We’ve already talked with the college and other groups about the Employability Fund concept, now we want to hear what the local people think and what their ideas are.

"If the wind farm is approved it will generate around £60,000 a year for community benefit and we want to hear from as many people as possible on how that money should be spent."

Northern TUC Regional Secretary, Beth Farhat said: " We need more and better jobs in the North-East and the renewables industry has a big role to play in helping us achieve that while also creating a sustainable future."

Mark Stephenson, Policy Advisor at the North East Chamber of Commerce, said: "There is the potential here to generate much more than electricity – jobs, apprenticeships and long lasting benefits for the local area."