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Revised wind farm plans lead to hundreds of comments

Revised plans for a wind farm near Tolpuddle have attracted hundreds of comments from local residents.

The deadline for submitting comments on West Coast Energy’s bid to erect five wind turbines on land to the north of the village has now passed.

More than 500 comments have been registered, with a number of them objecting to the plans, and campaigners believe that more letters that were received in hard copy format have still to be added to the total.

Comments include claims that the turbines are ‘far too obtrusive and will be visible for miles’ and accusations that they would be ‘monstrosities’ and a ‘blight on the landscape’.

Submissions in support of the plans include those by East Dorset Friends of the Earth, which states: “Approving this application would show genuine commitment by West Dorset District Council to increasing the use of renewable energy in the county.”

The application is a revised scheme after the developer changed the initial plans to propose five turbines instead of nine and reduce their height from 126 metres to 115m.

Opposition to the scheme has remained steadfast though, with the Tolpuddle Against Industrial Turbines (TAINT) group insisting that the scheme is still totally inappropriate for the landscape.

Richard Slocock, from TAINT, said the number of representations submitted demonstrated the strength of feeling locally.

He said: “It is good news that people have been bothering to write in.

“We don’t want the landscape ruined by these things and it’s quite apparent that an awful lot of people feel the same.”

Mr Slocock said that the group would now be waiting for the date when the application is considered by West Dorset District Council’s development control committee, which could be some weeks as the council has to gather feedback from various consultees and consider all the information.

He said that the group would be attending the meeting when it is held to make their voice heard.

Mr Slocock said: “The fight goes on and it’s now in the hands of the planning system.

“These particularly large turbines have no place in our cherished countryside.”

PLANNING and public affairs director for West Coast Energy Steve Salt said: “We have made significant revisions to the scheme to address specific planning concerns.

“The council is still consulting on this proposal and it would therefore be inappropriate to comment at this present time on the scale of objection or support for the scheme.

“However, our position is that the site is an appropriate location for renewable energy generation and if consented the development will provide significant economic and social benefits to the area.”