A bid to power an opera house with a 70ft wind turbine looks set to be thrown out after a council received a barrage of complaints against the environmentally-friendly project.
Lewes District Council will discuss proposals to build the 850kw turbine at Mill Plain – 400m (1,312ft) from the Glyndebourne Opera House – this week.
But despite more than 70 letters supporting the green initiative, councillors said they have received a further 230 from residents who are against the scheme.
The National Trust, The South Downs Society, Natural England and The Ramblers Association are also against the plans.
Council officers are recommending that the proposal is refused at Wednesday’s meeting at Lewes Town Hall.
Directors at Glyndebourne hope to build the turbine on the site of an old windmill, charging the opera house through an underground cable.
Engineers believe it would generate enough electricity to meet all the prestigious venue’s energy requirements for a year.
Extra electricity would then be used to feed nearby homes through the National Grid.
Ringer Parish Council has already said the three-bladed tower, with a rotor diameter of 52m (171ft), and an overall height from base to blade tip of 70m (230ft), should be thrown out.
More than 130 people living in Ringmer have also contacted the council saying the turbine will harm the area’s natural tranquillity.
Another 100 from the surrounding area added their complaints in letters.
One of the objections described the turbine as “alien”, another that it threatened to overshadow Ringmer, would damage the views from nearby footpaths and even that it would affect TV receptions.
Councillors have also pointed out that the site, although part of the Glyndebourne estate, also lies within the new boundaries drawn up for the proposed South Downs National Park.
A representative from The South Downs Society said: “If allowed, the turbine will be among the tallest erected in any protected landscape in England and Wales and taller than any erected in a national park.”
However, the 73 letters of support cite the need for action to fight climate change and reduce carbon emissions as reason enough to give the project the green light.
Others said the turbine would be an “educational resource” and an “elegant and graceful addition to the landscape”.
The British Gliders Association said the tower could prove hazardous to nearby fliers.
Planning officers have recommended the plans are refused on the grounds that “the proposed turbine by reason of its height, form and location, would result in a prominent and large scale structure which would break the open, undeveloped skyline at Mill Plain and cause serious harm to the natural beauty, character and tranquillity to this part of the Sussex Downs”.
Lewes District Council’s planning applications committee will meet to discuss the proposal at Lewes Town Hall at 5pm.
By Andy Dickenson
8 July 2007