Public exhibition dates have been revealed for the controversial Poole Bay off-shore wind farm.
Eneco plans to build 150 to 240 turbines in Poole Bay, around 10 miles from Bournemouth and Poole, and eight miles from Swanage and Christchurch as part of the Navitus Bay Wind Park plans.
The scheme has caused concern among many members of the community including MPs, sailing clubs and local residents.
Recently Eneco carried out exploratory drilling at Chewton Bunny in Highcliffe to investigate possible cable routes for the turbines. It has been revealed that power from the wind farm could be channelled into the national grid at Three Legged Cross.
Eneco said there are two possible sites for its substation with land south of the existing Mannington substation at Holt Road and a plot east of West Moors Road.
MPs including Bournemouth West’s Conor Burns, South Dorset MP Richard Drax and North Dorset’s Bob Walters have criticised the plans.
The proposed site for the turbines is designed to swing the massive generators inshore – roughly the same distance out as the Needles.
Christchurch Sailing Club has also expressed concern with Commodore Rick Thompson saying ‘they couldn’t have picked a worst place in the British Isles’.
The turbines would have a tip height of 163 metres (535 feet). The land is owned by Crown Estates and the final say rests with the Government.
The company intends to apply for permission in 2013, planning consent in 2015 and start creating the 150-240 turbine farm a year later. It would open in 2019 and with a capacity of up to 1200 MW it could generate power for 615,000 to 820,000 homes.
Eneco’s project director Chris Sherrington said the wind farm could bring in tourists.
At a meeting with Bournemouth councillors last year he said the wind farm had been a hit with tourists and residents, swelling numbers at Great Yarmouth visitors’ centre to 35,000 a year.
The organisation says they are sensitive to the issues and understand the scheme is very much a personal thing but will create jobs, contracts and services.
Highcliffe residents react
Liam Jessop of the Cliffhanger café said: “I don’t think the residents will be very impressed with it. Anything that reduces the view that we’ve got here is not going to be a good thing.”
Steve White runs the community website highcliffedorset.co.uk. He said: “I object to it strongly. That is one of the most iconic views on the south coast, if not in England.
Christine Tebbutt, 40, of Hengistbury Head, said: “It’s not a brilliant idea. It’s one of the destinations for people to come to and they go and put an eyesore right on the site.
Ann Smith, 50, from Mudeford, said: “I don’t know much about it, but it doesn’t sound very good. I just have visions of all these things that are going to spoil the view.”
Paul Smith, 62, from Mudeford, said: “I think they’re good environmentally, but not from a scenic point of view. But I do think there should be more information available.”
Jane Diggins, 52, from Bransgore, said: “It wouldn’t bother me, I quite like them. They’re not noisy as far as I know. I think they’re very good environmentally.”
Public exhibitions will be held at:
* Swanage, Mowlem Theatre, Tuesday, February 21, 2pm to 8pm.
* Poole, RNLI Lifeboat, Wednesday, February 22, 2pm to 8pm.
* Christchurch Council, Thursday, February 23, 2pm to 8pm.
* Bournemouth, Pavilion Theatre, Saturday, February 25, 10am to 4pm.
* West Moors Memorial Hall, Tuesday, February 28, 2pm to 8pm.
* New Milton Memorial Centre, Wednesday, February 29, 2pm to 8pm.
* Lymington Community Centre, Saturday, March 3, 10am to 4pm.
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