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Wind farm plans go on show to West Ashton villagers

Plans to build a wind farm near West Ashton will go on public display this weekend.

REG Windpower wants to build three wind turbines at Grange Farm in Bratton Road and is keen to get residents’ approval during exhibitions in West Ashton and Bratton.

Representatives from the company, which operates 11 UK wind farms, will be at West Ashton Village Hall today (Friday) between 2pm and 8pm, and at the Church Institute Hall, Tynings Lane, Bratton, tomorrow (Saturday), from 9am to 1pm.

Joseph Wade, a PR consultant working with REG, said: “It is still early days and this exhibition will very much be about exhibiting some draft proposals.

“There will be another round of consultation after this and, if the application is approved, the turbines could be constructed by late 2012.”

The plan is likely to prove controversial, with concerns over the visual impact of turbines on the area.

The location is near Pickett and Clanger Wood, a site of Special Scientific Interest.

It has already come under scrutiny from Dr Andrew Murrison, MP for South West Wiltshire, who said: “My initial thoughts are it would be another infringement on green space. I would also say onshore wind power is highly controversial as a source of alternative energy.”

The turbines would have a maximum height of 130m on the 62.7 hectare site, currently an organic dairy farm.

If permission is granted, it would be Wiltshire’s first wind farm, generating enough power for 3,500 homes.

A planning application could be submitted as early as the spring, after a second round of consultation with bodies including the Enviro-nment Agency, the RSPB, Natural England, English Heritage and the Highways Agency.

To appease neighbours, REG Windpower says it will create a community fund to hand out grants totalling £12,000 to local groups.

After 25 years, the turbines would be decommissioned and the land returned to its former use.

For information on the proposals, visit the Grange Farm Wind Farm website at www.

grangefarmwindfarm.co.uk.