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An ill wind for Polegate turbines plan

The wind farm in Polegate has been unanimously opposed by the town council.

A planning application for the Shepham Wind Farm was submitted to Wealden District Council last month.

Galliford Try Renewables (GTR) wants to install five turbines, each at 415 feet tall – almost the size of the London Eye and more than twice the height of Eastbourne’s tallest building South Cliff Tower, which stands at 190 feet and has 19 floors.

GTR wants to erect the five turbines on land north of the A27, either side of Shepham Lane.

There has been much opposition to the plan including a Stop the Shepham Windfarm campaign group started by local residents.

Now, Polegate Town Council has made its feelings about a five turbine wind farm known.

Councillors discussed the plans a recent meeting and decided to ‘vehemently oppose’ the wind farm.

Local residents also attended the meeting to raise their concerns with town councillors and ten members of the public spoke against the plans.

In a letter to planners at Wealden District Council, who will make a final decision on the wind farm on December 8, Polegate Town Council said, “It is extremely optimistic to expect developers to build anywhere in the current economic climate and how much more so when they learn that, in this area, their finished properties will be loomed over by five massive wind turbines.

“At best it will affect the sale values; at worst, they might not sell. It seems absurd, therefore, that Wealden District Council would sabotage the attainment of its own housing targets by approving this application.”

The town council also said the turbines were unreliable, unpopular and a possible risk to health and safety.

The council’s response to Wealden said they had “concerns with regard to the close proximity of settlements to the rotor blades”.

The council added, “There is no mention in the application of the proposed Taylor Wimpey Development site to the east of Shepham Lane, which may result in new dwellings being even closer to the turbines than the 0.5 miles stated in the application.

“In neighbouring France the minimum distance from human habitation is 1.5km.

“‘Flicker’ is another health issue. It occurs when low sun is behind wind turbines near sunrise and sunset; the blades cast shadows which may cause serious irritation and in some sensitive individuals, physiological responses.

“In hilly areas with large arrays of machine, some buildings may be exposed to ‘flicker’ for substantial parts of the day.

“This also has huge implications for local house prices.”

The plans are currently available to see on the Wealden District Council website, where details on how to make representations are also available. Representations must be made by November 18.

The opposition group has set up a website which can be found at www.stopshephamwindfarm.co.uk

Westham Parish Council will be discussing the wind farm at its planning meeting which takes place on November 14.