Plans to build a 70 metre high wind turbine on the South Downs have been dealt a significant blow.
Despite claims by the Glyndebourne Opera House, in Ringmer, that 93 per cent of villagers support their bid to power its buildings by installing the green energy generator, the local Town Council voted not to support the plans when they go before Lewes District Council.
Ringmer Town Council held a special meeting at the village hall to discuss the plans.
The proposal is for a 850kw turbine with a tower of 44m and blades of 26m, giving a maximum tip height of 70m.
On the Glyndebourne website it explains: “Whilst alternative sites have been considered, Mill Plain, the hill between Glyndebourne and Ringmer, is the preferred location on the basis of wind resource and access. The turbine would become a new landmark in this part of East Sussex.”
Jacquetta Fewster, director of the South Downs Society, who spoke out against the plans at the meeting, said: “The turbine would have a huge and negative visual impact in the South Downs, and the enjoyment of all those who live in and visit the area.
“If built, the turbine would be one of the largest in any protected landscape in the UK.
“At 230ft it would be as high as a 24-storey sky scraper.
“We have very little unspoilt countryside left and development of this kind is not acceptable in these precious landscapes.
“Instead, wind turbines should be built out at sea, and there should be more wave and tidal power developments.”
In a statement issued after the meeting she said most people supported efforts to find sources of green energy but the turbine was inappropriate for the South Downs, an area of outstanding natural beauty.
Ms Fewster said: “Many of the residents at the meeting were in favour of renewable energy but they urged Glyndebourne to think of other ways of going green. Solar panels and geo-thermal power were suggested.
“There was also a great deal of support for wind turbines far out at sea as recommended by the Government.”
More than 100 people attended the meeting on Friday and a straw poll suggested that most of those were against the plans.
Following a discussion Ringmer Town Councillors voted against the plans.
Their decision and feedback from the council will now be sent to Lewes District Council, and will be considered by planning officers before they make their recommendations to the planning committee.
Lewes District Council are currently holding a public consultation into the plans.
This is scheduled to end on February 27.
A spokeswoman said the plans would probably come before the planning committee in March or April.
A spokeswoman for Glyndebourne said: “Glyndebourne has no further comment to make about the planning application for a wind turbine at this time. We will issue a statement when there is further news.”
By Lynn Eccles
12 February 2007
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding