STRONG feelings were aired as a public consultation into a controversial wind farm near Dorchester began.

Renewable energy firm Broadview Energy Limited is in the early stages of submitting a proposal for a seven-turbine development on agricultural land between Wolfedale Golf Course and Slyer’s Lane in Charminster.

Developers say the wind farm will generate enough energy for around 7,000 homes.

Tom Cosgrove, project manager, said the pre-planning was in the ‘early stages’ and studies are still being carried out.

He said: “This event is designed for us to get more information and tell the residents everything we know.

“But we don’t know a great deal at this early stage.

“It’s very important to go through this stage and tell people what we know and get the information from them.”

He said residents’ feedback, which was given at the consultation at Charminster’s Herrison Hall yesterday, would definitely be considered in the revised plans.

But some staged a protest against the proposal.

Anti-wind farm resident Geoff Markham said: “There is just no detail.

“It’s a ‘nice’ display, there are lots of ‘nice’ pictures, but there is nothing concrete.

“They are asking for a lot of goodwill without giving us the facts.”

He said he doesn’t believe a wind farm would be a viable way to generate energy.

Gawain Towler, press officer for the UKIP party, said: “I am going to have to read a lot more before I can be categorical in my opinion.

“They say ‘we have done an environment survey into birds’.

“Well, what did you find out? Where are the results? I can’t see any details in the exhibition.”

Reacting to the comments, Mr Cosgrove said gathering more information and informing the public were the ‘whole reason’ for the consultation.

He said feeling for and against the wind farm is about 50-50 and the feedback he had received at the consultation so far had been good.

There will be another consultation in the coming months before a proposal is submitted for approval to the council next year.

How site was chosen

BROADVIEW took a map of the whole of Dorset to look for potential sites.

They then ruled out some areas – such as nature conservation areas and Sites of Special Scientific Interest.

Next they looked at wind speeds to see which of the remaining areas would have a resource that is ‘commercially viable.’

The site needed to be within ‘relative proximity’ of the local electricity network and there needed to be ‘available capacity.’

They then eliminated potential remaining areas based on transport and
access – the local roads must be capable of accommodating the delivery of abnormal loads, such as turbine components.

Next they looked at ‘residential amenity’ – the site had to have ‘sufficient separation’ from housing to minimise noise and visual impact.

The areas that were left at the end of this process were then considered to see if they were suitable options.

Three times the height of existing turbine

THE turbines will have a height of up to 125m – three times the height of the existing turbine off the A35 near Bere Regis.

Broadview says that they will be 600 metres from the nearest homes and Charminster is 1km away from the proposed site.

The site will also consist of a substation, around the size of a domestic garage, which will be jointly used by Broadview and Southern Scottish Electric.

This will be connected to the grid ‘almost certainly’ by an underground cable which will run in to the Dorchester substation.

Broadview says it will donate some of its profits to a community fund which could generate around 1.7m over the project’s 25-year life.