A controversial wind farm plan for Purbeck is seeing the number of turbines in the scheme slashed from the originally proposed six down to just three.
This was revealed by the district council’s planning officer Alan Davies at the monthly meeting of the planning board.
He told councillors there was a considerable amount of work to be done before the scheme was brought before them with any recommendation from the planners.
He added: “We have had a letter in the last few days from the applicants wishing to reduce the number of turbines down to three.”
He said planners were still considering whether that could be dealt with as an amendment to the original application – or whether that would have to be withdrawn and a completely a fresh plan submitted to the council. He said: “We will take some advice on that and report back to the planning board and the applicants.”
Planning board chairman Coun Peter Wharf said the eventual debate on the application when it came before councillors was expected to be lengthy – with significant comments likely from members of the public.
He said if there were to be a large number of people potentially wanting to put their views to the council on the application, it might lead to a special planning board meeting to focus on just the one subject.
Public interest might also lead to an evening meeting or a special venue being arranged.
He urged councillors not to debate the merits of the proposal until the planning process had run its course and it came before the board for a decision.
Councillors have asked for a visit to a similar-sized wind farm so they can assess the proposal’s potential impact on the Purbeck landscape.
The application is from the Wimborne-based company Infinergy – a joint venture between leading property agents Savills and Dutch company Koop Duurzame Energie – for a wind farm project with local landowner Will Bond at Masters Pit in East Stoke to the north west of Wareham.
The application for six turbines standing 410 ft tall, with a height to the hubs of 84 metres and a blade tip 125 metres above ground level, was submitted back in late March for what has been named the Alaska Wind Farm on a site off the Puddletown Road.
Opponents of the scheme have attacked it as an environmental disaster – though the turbines would be in an area scarred by quarrying they would be seen from as far away as Corfe Castle to the south. A group was also formed backing the plans as a green energy solution.
Nine metre turbine may be installed at school
PLANNERS have recommended a proposal for a nine metre-high wind turbine to be built in the grounds of a primary school.
Subject to councillors’ approval, the turbine will be installed next to the playing field at Southwell Primary School on Portland.
The turbine’s blades would be 5.5 metres in diameter and the structure would be erected 25 metres south of the main school building.
Members of Dorset County Council’s planning committee will vote on the plans when they meet on Friday.
A single letter of representation objecting to the turbine was received from a resident living 80 metres away.
Concerns were raised about the amount of noise it might generate – potentially disturbing schoolchildren who would be studying in nearby classrooms.
But the county council’s head of planning said the turbine’s predicted decibel level is 45 if the turbine rotates at five metres per second and 65 if it rotates at 20 metres per second.
A car passing 20 metres away and travelling at 40 miles per hour would be equivalent to 70 to 80 decibels.
It can therefore be seen that the noise emanating from the proposed wind turbine would be less than normal background levels for dwellings located around the school,’ the report says.
The nearest houses are 50 metres to the east and 60 metres to the south of the wind turbine site, the report says.
The wind turbine, which will be placed on the south west side of the building, is designed to help the school use renewable energy to reduce its carbon footprint.
Councillors will be asked to consider the plans in the light of government energy policy, which encourages the generation of energy from renewable resources.
But they will be asked to weigh up their decision against environment policies to maintain and enhance the quality and diversity of the Dorset landscape.
Elsewhere on the island, Brackenbury Infant School, in Fortuneswell, has submitted plans to install a wind turbine.
31 May 2008
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