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Thousands check out wind farm plans

Nearly 2,000 people attended exhibitions over plans for a wind farm off the Dorset coast, with more urged to have their say.

Navitus Bay Development Ltd held a series of events, including Bournemouth, Poole and Swanage, in its third round of consultations over the controversial scheme.

It said it completed more accurate photomontages of what the turbines, which would be 12 miles off Bournemouth, would look like, as well as a 3D model.

But opponents criticised both the model and the new photos, with main group Challenge Navitus saying they underplayed what the turbines, which could number as many as 218 and be as high as 200m, would look like.

Consultation rem-ains open for another few weeks and both sides of the fence are urging more people to have their say.

NBDL project director, Mike Unsworth, said: “The verbal and written feedback received indicated that the vast majority of people came away from the events better informed about our proposals, which is important for us as a company committed to open and transparent engagement.

“One of the main issues raised at previous exhibitions was potential visual impact.

“To address this, we provided a greater level of information which included an interactive 3D model, detailed photomontages and a visuals booklet to help show what the proposed wind park could look like from different locations.”

The information can still be viewed on NBDL’s website and in libraries.

“All feedback received will be reviewed and analysed and we will look to address any issues raised in our next phase of consultation in the autumn,” added Mr Unsworth.

Challenge Navitus, which has its own photomontages and videos on its website, said they welcomed the exhibitions as it gave the public the chance to speak to the developers, but said they could have been better promoted.

Spokesman Mike Owen added: “As we don’t think NBDL’s visualisations gave an accurate perception of what the wind farm would really look like, we encourage people to look at the images on our website for comparison.

“Indeed, during the consultation the developers removed or modified images on their website following complaints by Challenge Navitus. Of course, visual impact is just one of the concerns over this massive development. There are also important economic, environmental and navigational implications which should not be forgotten.”

People are urged, whatever their view, to have their say before the April 5 cut-off date.