Plans to build wind farms in the countryside immortalised by lauded English author Thomas Hardy have been blasted as “terrible” and “awful” today.
Developers intend to build 16 wind turbines close to the spot the novelist wrote some of his most famous books including Far From The Madding Crowd.
The two proposed sites sit between the tiny village of Stinsford, near Dorchester, Dorset, where Hardy was born and where his heart is buried.
Developers want to build seven 400 foot turbines near Puddletown, close to the Waterston Manor which inspired Weatherbury Farm in Far from the Madding Crowd.
The Thomas Hardy society have blasted the plans, saying that they are “awful” places to put the wind farms which help to convert renewable energy.
Tony Fincham, chairman of the Thomas Hardy Society, said: “The sites are simply awful places to put these wind turbines.
“A lot of tourism in Dorset is thanks to Hardy and if you destroy these landscapes there will be nothing left for people to see.
“People visit west Dorset because of the relatively unspoilt countryside and the fact that Hardy described it so intimately in his fiction and poetry.
“To just go and stick up these turbines at these location would be terrible.”
The second site at Tolpuddle would fall on the land that Hardy used as his setting for his 1882 novel Two on a Tower.
Enthusiasts of the Victorian author fear the turbines will ruin the heart of Hardy’s Wessex and put tourists off visiting the landscape.
Katherine Butler, owner of Waterston Manor, said the works of Hardy would not had the same impact if wind turbines were in the landscape when Hardy was alive.
She said: “In Far From the Madding Crowd, Gabriel Oak walks across the countryside from Dorchester to Blandford right through the proposed sites.
“He would have had quite a shock if he had to walk past two wind farms.
“In fact, Hardy would probably be able to see these wind turbines from his final resting place at Stinsford.”
The plot of land for the Puddletown wind farm falls between Wolfeton House and Waterston Manor and is the setting of Hardy’s short story The Three Strangers.
The turbines will be visible from much of Egdon Heath which featured in the author’s 1878 novel The Return of the Native.
Nigel Thimbleby who lives at the Tudor manor, said: “These proposals are completely misplaced.
“To put them here would completely spoil Hardy’s beautiful countryside.
Tom Cosgrove, from Broadview Energy who are behind the Puddletown proposal, said it is inevitable wind farms would bring change to an area.
He said: “Certainly Thomas Hardy is an important figure in the history of our country but that does not necessarily mean you can’t integrate new elements into the landscape.
“It is all about managing change in the right way and our challenge will be to design proposals that the community feels are acceptable.”
The Tolpuddle plans are being headed up by West Coast Energy, who withdraw plans submitted to the local council following protests.
The firm’s Steve Salt said: “Following a review of the various statutory and other consultee responses and after discussions with West Dorset District Council, we have decided to withdraw the planning application.
“This will enable consideration to be given to the concerns raised and to the submission of a new revised scheme for the site.”
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