FIFTY residents’ groups have joined forces to fight plans to build a wind farm off the Dorset coast.

The Poole and Christchurch Bays Association (PCBA) has launched a ‘Save our Seaside’ campaign to oppose Navitus’ plans to site up to 218 wind turbines out at sea.

PCBA members carried out their own exit poll of people visiting the recent public consultation exhibition at the BIC and claim to have found strong opposition to the controversial scheme.

Chairman Roy Pointer said: “The overwhelming majority of visitors to the exhibition were strongly opposed to this industrial monster being sited so close to our shores.

“Some told us they were further angered by the development company’s claimed levels of support for the plans, which don’t ring true.

“The footprint of this vast development is the size of the city of Manchester. And the turbines are so tall that only a few London skyscrapers – including the Shard – reach higher into the skies.”

The final round of public consultation on the scheme ended on Friday, October 11. Navitus Bay is a joint venture between Eneco and EDF and the wind farm would be situated between the Isle of Wight and Purbeck.

Mike Unsworth, project director for Navitus Bay, said: “It is simply untrue to say that the majority of people are against the Navitus Bay Wind Park. During the phase four public exhibitions, the Navitus Bay project team met with almost 1,500 people, many of whom expressed support for the project We are committed to open, on-going and honest dialogue with local communities.”

Residents’ views on the development

  • Bill Hoodless, of Hengistbury Residents’ Association, said: “I think the wind farm will only be good for the developers who will make millions of pounds profit out of it, I can’t see any other benefits. We’ve got this fantastic outlook here, who wants it to be industrialised?”
  • Lawrence Crapper, the Commodore at Christchurch Sailing Club, said: “Our main concern is the number of turbines. We believe it will be a danger to any vessels who get into trouble. The Government doesn’t recommend siting wind farms in busy waters.”
  • John Gunton, of the Branksome Park, Canford Cliffs and district residents’ association, said: “We are concerned about the visual impact and the cost of the subsidy as well. Having got rid of the Imax do we really want to be building something like this?”
  • Tony Yates, the chairman of Hengistbury Head residents’ association HENRA, said: “The overwhelming majority of our residents, having heard both sides of the argument, are opposed to the construction of the wind farm because of the visual intrusion.”