BOURNEMOUTH'S economy could suffer a devastating £100m a year blow if the Navitus Bay wind farm gets the go-ahead, the council said.

The authority also says that around 2,000 jobs could be at risk should the development go ahead.

In a Local Impact Report submitted this week ahead of the first 'open floor' meeting in the planning process at the BIC next Tuesday, Bournemouth Borough Council details the “significant detrimental impact the proposed wind farm would have on the local economy”.

Read the full report here - section six refers to the loss of visitors due to the wind farm

After being asked by the Daily Echo, the council said that around half of the predicted job losses would be in accommodation.

The other half would be spread across attractions, including restaurants, transport, the town centre, international education, culture and conferencing, it added.

The £100 million figure relates to the loss in income predicted from visitor spending in Bournemouth, the council said.

It says that evidence shows that “the cumulative impacts of the obvious damage to the visual amenity and the loss of the area's intrinsic appeal would have major knock-on effects to employment, the tourism economy and long-term investment in Bournemouth”.

Combined, the negative effects of the development on the area would far outweigh any benefits, it said.

Council leader, Cllr John Beesley, said: “The collective and cumulative effect Navitus Bay's proposed wind farm will have on our local environment, the visitor economy and wider business confidence in the town will cause unprecedented and unacceptable negative effects. All the evidence indicates that this wind farm will damage local businesses and lead to job losses.

“Because of this, we vehemently oppose the vast scale and location of Navitus Bay's wind farm. We will campaign passionately against the industrialisation of Poole Bay. Protecting our beautiful and natural seascape along with the economic performance and future prosperity of Bournemouth are our top priorities.”

Navitus Bay Development Ltd responded by saying thet thought the council's concerns were 'unfounded or misplaced'. Read their full response here

The council said that some of the negative local impacts highlighted in the report include:

  • The destruction of Poole Bay's natural setting and pristine views caused by the installation of up to 194, industrial-scale 200m tall steel man-made turbines.
  • Loss of visitors who choose Bournemouth because of its distinctive natural bay - over six million summer visitors are likely to take their business elsewhere during the construction of the wind farm - 91 per cent of visitors to the area rated 'the views out to sea and along the coast' as four or five on a five point scale2. Losing or damaging this view would have dire consequences for tourism and the wider economy within Bournemouth.
  • Tourism is a £501 million annual business in Bournemouth. Any decrease in visitor numbers to Bournemouth would have a detrimental effect on the local economy. The report shows that the proposed wind farm would lead to an annual tourism income loss of £100 million during the construction phase of the wind farm. This is a loss of real spending in Bournemouth negatively affecting real local businesses - potentially resulting in multiple business failures and around 2,000 local jobs being lost. In reality even a small downturn in income would tip many local businesses into loss.
  • This decline in trade would translate into reduced business confidence, business uncertainty and lower profitability, making it difficult to attract future private capital investment and severely restrict local economic growth.
  • Bournemouth's international reputation for staging events is based on its exceptional natural seafront setting. A reduction in visitor numbers to these events would compromise the town's ability to continue running them.
  • The quality of its coastal setting is Bournemouth's unique selling point in enabling it to compete in the international conference and language school market. Damaging this key element may dissuade visitors to Bournemouth and negatively impact this business sector.

Paul Clarke, Chair of BAHA (Bournemouth Accommodation and Hotel Association), said: “Our membership would be very worried if, as indicated by NBDL's own survey, there was a fall in visitors wanting to visit Bournemouth during the five year construction phase of the project.

"Many of the our members have been through one of the toughest periods of recession over the past five years where numbers of overnight visitors fell by nearly 10% the indicated figure of double that would make a large percentage of hotels uneconomical and certainly stop any investment in the sector for the next 5-8years. The job losses would be a consequence of any fall in business."