Wareham wind turbines plan approve by councillors

Signs at the meeting
Image caption Opinion among residents who attended the meeting was split

Councillors have approved an application to build four 125m-high (410ft) wind turbines in rural Dorset.

Energy firm Infinergy wants to build the wind farm on land off Puddletown Road in East Stoke, near Wareham.

Purbeck District Council planning officials had recommended the bid be turned down over concerns about the environmental effects of the turbines.

Opinion on the plans were split among residents who attended the planning meeting on Tuesday.

Councillors voted in favour of the Alaska Wind Farm project, subject to conditions which "mitigate adverse effects", such as noise and environmental factors.

'Superman's tights'

The proposed site, formerly Masters Pit, is near to a year-round Scout camp and is flanked by a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest, wetlands, a Special Area of Conservation and a Special Protection Area.

Andrew Butler, of East Stoke, said: "At the moment we are reliant on dirty, polluting, finite fossil fuels like coal and oil for our energy needs. Clearly that's got to change.

"Many people see them [turbines] as majestic - they also see them as visions of us doing something, of a clean, renewable energy future."

Susan Chapman, from Bournemouth, said: "We need the resources of the renewables.

"Turning down this application on the flimsy reasons given is like saying Superman isn't any good because you don't like the colour of his tights."

Disturbed sleep

However Dominic Gatrell, of East Stoke, said: "We live within 800m of the planned site.

"We are very strongly opposed to this application because of the effect we perceive we will have with these large structures within a very short distance of our homes.

"The noise of the turbines and the allowable noise that these turbines can generate has been proven in other wind turbine sites around the UK to disturb people's sleep at night and to damage their quality of life."

Peter Wharf, chair of Purbeck District Council, said: "It was a particularly difficult proposal to debate because there were quite finely balanced arguments both for and against.

"The outcome was actually quite good in my mind in that while we haven't approved it necessarily - although we have in principle - we've set officers to work with Infinergy to try and identify appropriate conditions that will mitigate the worst effects upon the scouts."

He said the council received more than 700 written responses to the plan - 546 were in favour and 179 against it.

The council also received two petitions - one with 36 signatures was in favour of the farm, another with 1,103 was against.

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