‘Disappointment’ at wind farm go ahead in Polegate

Shepham Wind Farm proposal. Picture not actual turbines.
Shepham Wind Farm proposal. Picture not actual turbines.

Polegate Town Council said it was ‘disappointed’ that a controversial wind farm has been given the green light on land north of the town.

The proposal for three wind turbines on land in Polegate, known as the Shepham Wind Farm, was rejected by Wealden District Council in May 2013.

But developer Regeneco, the specialist renewable energy arm of Galliford Try Group, submitted an appeal against the decision in January last year.

Following an inquiry which opened in July last year, an independent Planning Inspector issued a notice of approval last week.

Now a spokesman for Polegate Town Council has said it is disappointed at the decision and said it believes the decision may be referred back to the secretary of state for communities and local government for review.

The spokesman said: “Polegate Town Council is disappointed at the Planning Inspector’s decision to allow the erection of three wind turbines on the Shepham Lane site to the north of the town.

“The council had relied heavily on a circular from the Secretary of State’s department issued last November which stated that such developments would not be approved if the majority of the local residents were not in favour.

“In our instance, at the public meetings held, only one local resident stated he did not mind.

“Everyone else was against the proposal.

“A Brighton based activist group were in favour but none of them live in Polegate as far as we are aware.

“It is understood that others opposed to the development intend to refer the Inspector’s decision back to the Secretary of State for review.

“Mr Pickles [Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government] is well known for overturning planning inspectors’ decisions.”

The planning inspector said the ‘substantial public benefits’ from the proposal outweighed any adverse impacts on the surrounding area.

She acknowleged that there would be some impact on the Pevensey Levels, some residential properties and listed buildings.

However, speaking last week, Andrew Durling, from the Yes to Polegate Wind Farm campaign, welcomed the news.

He said: “It is great news that Sussex will be hosting much more production of energy from a renewable source.

“We have consistently supported the wind farm, because we need to play our part in the clean energy revolution that will help to keep the lights on.”