A leading conservation group has come out against the Navitus Bay wind farm proposals.
Bournemouth Civic Society asked its built environment officer Dr John Soane to weigh up the plans.
Society chairman Ken Mantock said the society supported the principle of reducing carbon emissions and exploring green energy.
But he added in a letter to Navitus: “We consider the negative local impact of the Navitus Bay Wind Park on Bournemouth and its neighbouring towns is too great to justify us supporting your scheme. “We share other groups’ concerns about the economic viability, long term sustainability and environmental and visual impact of the proposal on the area but are also particularly concerned with the impact of the wind farm on the historic setting and sense of place of Bournemouth.”
Dr Soane criticised the way Navitus assessed the visual impact of its wind farm, saying its assessments had been done from rural or undeveloped areas.
He accused the company of an ‘underplaying or inability’ to make ‘meaningful visibility deductions from the seafront at Bournemouth’ or to assess the impact on the resort area along Poole Bay.
Dr Soane queried the way Navitus interpreted its own surveys of local opinion. He accused the company of ‘juggling with the findings’ and said that ‘every deduction would be interpreted in the best possible way for the best of possible worlds’. And he questioned the way Navitus addressed the impact on tourism.
He concluded: “The immediate threat to the aesthetic and hospitality attractions of Poole Bay from the proposed wind farm is far too important to appear wise after the event when it will be too late. It would therefore be sheer folly in the extreme to expect future visitors to come to the Bournemouth area if all that awaited them was the isolation of the individual within a jumbled mass of passé mechanistic and perverted aesthetic debris.”
He said it should be possible to find ‘other sources of energy’ and sites for wind power without ‘seriously compromising the social and visual attributes of a still vibrant cultural entity like Bournemouth’, which he said was ‘hugely loved and respected by the British Public’.
Planning application next year
NEW FOREST civic chiefs have hit out at the proposals.
They criticised the visual impact of the Navitus Bay project which, if approved, will result in 218 wind turbines up to 650ft high.
New Forest District Council is one of the organisations that is being consulted about the plan.
The huge turbines will be only 14.5 miles from Lymington and less than 12 miles from Milford on Sea. Councillors were presented with a report detailing the authority’s initial response to the latest proposals.
The report said: “The offshore turbines would have visual impacts from some parts of the coastline and would alter the open context in which The Needles are currently viewed.
“The landscape and visual impacts are considered to be adverse and should be treated as significant.”
Navitus Bay Development Ltd will send a planning application to the government next year.
The report said: “The council is not being asked for its views on whether the wind park should receive consent or not.
“The council will have an opportunity to submit representations to the panel of inspectors once the application has been formally submitted.”
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