PLANNING chiefs have agreed in principle to allow a four-turbine wind farm to be built in Purbeck.

Members of Purbeck District Council’s planning board decided to allow green energy company Infinergy to press ahead with their £14m project at Master’s Quarry, East Stoke, subject to as yet, unspecified conditions.

These conditions, likely to be in relation to the noise made by the four 125-metre turbines, will be thrashed out at a future meeting.

Councillors made their landmark decision after listening to more than 40 representations from anti-wind farm groups, pro-wind farm environmentalists, members of the public and a ten-minute address by Infinergy chief executive officer Charles Sandham.

Speaking at the meeting, held last night at The Purbeck School, Wareham, Mr Sandham said: “Most questions here tonight have been about fear of the unknown. When built, wind farms settle comfortably with little objections.”

Responding to direct criticism from the anti-wind farm lobby, Mr Sandham stressed the wind farm would receive no subsidies, adding: “If the wind doesn’t blow, the wind farm receives no revenue.”

Directing his comments to the planning board he said: “I commend this application and ask that you don’t fear the unknown.”

Earlier, council members heard strong representations from groups opposed to the wind farm.

Terry Stewart, of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said: “There is a threat to human health.”

He told the board similar wind farms in Scotland have to be built at least 2km from residential properties – a regulation dismissed as incorrect by Mr Sandham.

Noting the neighbouring scout camp, Mr Stewart stressed: “The turbines should be eight times as far away.

“The Purbeck Residential Care Home is only 900 metres from the turbines.

“I would ask that you reject the application.”

Of the 733 responses collected by the district council ahead of the meeting, 544 favoured the farm while 179 were against.

However, a 1,100 signature petition, opposing the proposals, had also been lodged with planning officers.