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Revised plans for Tolpuddle wind farm go on show
HUNDREDS turned out to see revised plans for a controversial wind farm in West Dorset.
Proposals to build a wind farm to the north of Tolpuddle have been scaled back after concerns were raised by councillors, campaigners and residents.
West Coast Energy now plans to build five turbines, instead of nine, and the height has been reduced from 126 metres to 115 metres.
A fresh application for planning permission is expected to be submitted to West Dorset District Council in the next few weeks.
Matthew Hayes, head of planning and project management, said the company is listening to what residents have to say.
He said: “We will reflect on today and if anything comes out that leads us to revise the scheme again, then that is something we will consider.”
Questionnaires were handed out to residents who attended the event at Tolpuddle Village Hall on Thursday to find out people’s thoughts on the revised scheme.
Mr Hayes said he was aware some people have concerns about the turbines, but a number of people have also spoken out in support of them.
West Coast Energy has already pledged to share ten per cent of any operational profits with the community and has now also committed to a guaranteed payment of £5,000 for each megawatt of capacity installed on the site.
This means that if the five turbine facility goes ahead the community will be guaranteed £50,000 a year and a total of £1.6million over the operational life of the wind farm.
Mr Hayes added: “We believe we are offering the most generous community benefits of any wind farm development.
“The specifics have not been confirmed, but the money would go to a local administrative body, perhaps the parish council, in order to benefit the community and for the first five years we would like to focus on fuel poverty initiatives.
“We feel strongly that this is a very good thing.”
West Coast Energy is working with charity National Energy Action to combat fuel poverty, which affects 4,000 homes in West Dorset.
South West representative for the charity Bethany Redley said: “It is a big problem, especially for young families and older people.”
But Richard Slocock, of campaign group Tolpuddle Against Industrial Turbines (TAINT), said the group remains opposed to the plans.
He and other group members stood outside the village hall during the event, handing out their own leaflets to residents.
Mr Slocock said: “We are still adamantly against these proposals.
“They are still giant turbines.
“They would make a mockery of our landscape.”