THOSE for and against the wind farm development are readying themselves for battle as the planning process gets under way in earnest on Tuesday.

The Planning Inspectorate is overseeing the application and an open floor hearing takes place at the BIC, with doors opening at 9am for a 10am start and the meeting likely to run until 7.30pm.

All those who have registered as interested parties will get the chance to speak - with a time limit of three minutes due to the number registered, more than 80 in total.

They include councillors, MPs and representatives with a wide range of views from both sides of the fence.

Speaking in the wake of yesterday's claims from Bournemouth Borough Council, David Lloyd, of Challenge Navitus, one of the opposition groups that will be represented next week, said: “Here's yet more evidence that Navitus Bay will have a devastating impact on the area. The only beneficiaries will be the developers themselves.”

East Dorset Friends of the Earth, which supports the plans, has warned that it thinks that some claims made by opponents have been “spurious or alarmist” and has said that it wants assurances that the economic, environmental and energy benefits of the scheme would be considered adequately.

Mike Unsworth, Navitus Bay project director, said: “The open floor hearing on Tuesday, October 14, marks a significant milestone in the planning application for the proposed Navitus Bay wind park.

“The meeting forms part of the examination process, which is designed to rigorously assess the impacts and benefits of the development and ensure local residents and other interested parties have their voices heard.

“Over the coming months there will be further issue specific hearings where people will have the opportunity to put forward their views about particular elements of the project and we encourage all interested parties to engage with the Planning Inspectorate throughout this process.

“We are confident that we have made a strong and comprehensive case for Navitus Bay which has the potential to add significant economic benefit to the local region, as well as create a minimum of 1700 jobs.”

The planning timetable - subject to change

  • Tuesday, October 14 - open floor hearing, BIC, Bournemouth
  • Friday, October 24 - details of issue-specific hearings and open floor hearing on Isle of Wight to be confirmed
  • Tuesday, November 18, to Thursday, November 20 - issue-specific hearings, including visual impact, heritage, coastal processes and the biological environment
  • Tuesday, November 25, to Thursday, November 27 - issue-specific hearings, including fishing, noise and health, water and air quality, navigational safety, transport, drainage and water supply
  • Tuesday, December 2 - site visit on Isle of Wight and open floor hearing on island
  • Wednesday, December 3 and Thursday, December 4 - site visits
  • Thursday, January 22, 2015 - reserved date for compulsory acquisition hearing
  • Wednesday, January 31 - hearings on development consent order and marine licence
  • Wednesday, March 11 - examining authority completes examination