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Giant wind farm is ‘threat to tourism’

Bournemouth council should consider the potential impact of the proposed Navitus Bay wind farm on the town’s tourism, economy and wildlife, a meeting heard last night.

The Navitus proposal has been submitted to the Planning Inspectorate for a decision by the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change next year.

Council planning officers highlighted seven key issues to be put forward by the authority in its bid to be registered as an interested party in the planning process and to form the basis of a Local Impact Report.

“We should avoid a scattergun approach,” said head of planning Andrew England, at the environment and transport panel meeting last night.

“We want to present a credible case. We should avoid the temptation to pick on every single issue and focus on those on which we have expertise.”

He said the seven areas that should be presented to the inspectorate in the 500-word initial application were the impact on tourism and the economy, the impact on the World Heritage Site and other national and international designations, the potential loss of capital investment, the impact on wildlife, the potential impact on water quality and views, noise and vibration.

The officers told members the council’s view would only be considered by the Secretary of State if the statement was balanced and backed by evidence and submitted according to the official timescale, which has yet to be revealed.

Mr England said the council had to put in the initial application by Monday and that the impact statement would be before the cabinet on July 23.

Cllr Mike Greene said the inspectors should be invited to visit Bournemouth before the end of this summer.

Cllr Chris Rochester said it was “disgusting” that the public was not being given a “reasonable length of time” to comment.

The panel agreed to endorse the work carried out thus far by officers for approval by the cabinet.