Appeal lodged against Polegate windfarm refusal

Polegate Town Council said it will continue to ‘vigorously oppose’ plans for a windfarm after an appeal was lodged against the decision to reject it.

The proposal for three wind turbines on land in Polegate, known as the Shepham Wind Farm, was rejected by Wealden District Council in May last year.

Now developer Regeneco, the specialist renewable energy arm of Galliford Try Group, has submitted an appeal against the decision.

Cllr Michael Clewett, chair of planning at Polegate Town Council, said: “It is clear that the vast majority of residents in Polegate are opposed to this proposal. The town council is firm in its commitment that the views of residents should be the primary consideration and we will vigorously continue to oppose this proposal. What is the point otherwise of these turbines here when it is proposed to build about 125 at twice the height and three times, alleged, efficiency out to sea at Brighton.”

Campaign group Stop Shepham Wind Farm (SSWF) - which comprises residents living in Hankham, Polegate and Stone Cross - said it was ‘extremely disappointed’ with the appeal.

In a statement to the Express, it said: “It was quite clear that the local community overwhelmingly rejected the original and subsequent proposals and that the local democratic process endorsed this opposition. The action group will again represent local concerns to this latest appeal process.”

The plans did receive some support. Campaign group Yes to Shepham Wind Farm supported the plan and said there was a need for renewable energy.

The three turbines were originally recommended for approval but planning committee members turned down the plans after hearing concerns from local residents who said the turbines would have a ‘detrimental’ impact on their lives.

A spokesman for Regeneco said: “Having worked very closely with the council, statutory consultees and a number of industry experts to produce an acceptable planning application, we were extremely disappointed by the committee’s decision to refuse planning permission. We believe that, in reaching its decision, the council did not give enough weight to the environmental and socio-economic benefits of the project, or their own officers’ recommendation that the scheme be approved. We have therefore taken the decision to appeal to the Planning Inspectorate against the council’s refusal of the scheme; it is likely that a public inquiry will be held later this year. We look forward to keeping the local community updated via the project website throughout the process.”