DORSET County Council is continuing to oppose the Navitus Bay wind farm plans despite an offer to reduce the number of turbines from 194 to 85.
A report put before cabinet at a meeting at County Hall in Dorchester originally recommended councillors endorse the officer’s view that the ‘mitigation option’ is admissible in planning terms.
But ward councillors Bill Trite and Margaret Phipps urged the cabinet not to accept the offer.
Cllr Phipps, who represents the Commons ward on Dorset County Council, said it was a ‘material’ change and it was up to the examining authority, not Dorset County Council, to rule whether the new proposals were admissible.
And Cllr Trite, who represents Swanage on the county council, added: “For all we know, this plan B could have been what Navitus Bay Development Ltd had intended all along as a fallback position.
“It’s presented as a big concession to those who are opposed to this appalling disfiguration of this beautiful part of the world.”
Cabinet member for environment Peter Finney said the recommendation had already been changed to reflect that it is the examining authority’s decision to decide whether it is admissible or whether a new planning application will have to be submitted.
Mike Harries, director for environment and the economy, warned the cabinet against stating that one option is preferred over another because, although fewer wind turbines would mean a lesser visual impact, there would also be reduced economic benefits.
But Colin Jamieson, cabinet member for public health and the community, warned that profits from the scheme would ‘go abroad’.
He added: “If we are looking at generating electricity there are more effective and less invasive ways of doing it.
“I think it will have an adverse effect. I think any windfarm in that area would have an adverse effect.”
Paul Kimber, county councillor for Portland, addressed the cabinet in support of the scheme – the original scheme or revised.
He said: “We need to keep the lights on and meet international commitments.
“We need to keep electricity cheap. At some time in the future we need to sit down with this company and ask what is in it for us in Dorset.”
Chairing the meeting, Cllr Robert Gould, leader of the county council, said: “We need to say we are opposed to the scheme, which we have previously stated.”