New Shepham Wind Farm plans welcomed

Pro wind farm supporters for Polegate wind farm, Shepham Lane, Polegate
Pro wind farm supporters for Polegate wind farm, Shepham Lane, Polegate

A new application for Shepham Wind Farm near Polegate with fewer and shorter turbines has been welcomed by campaigners.

Galliford Try Renewables (GTR) submitted new plans this week with ‘significant changes’ to address concerns raised by Wealden District Council to its original proposals.

The new scheme is for three turbines of 115m (377ft) in height whereas the original plan was for five turbines of 126.25m (414ft).

GTR withdrew the original planning application in July 2012 and has since been working closely with the district council and other consultees on the three reasons for refusal – visual impact, residential amenity and cultural heritage.

Yes to Polegate Wind Farm group said the company had listened to residents and the benefits of the scheme ‘far outweighed’ perceived adverse local impact.

Tom Porter, Project Developer for GTR, said: “The new three turbine scheme takes account of the concerns raised by WDC and the South Downs National Park for the original application, and looks to overcome these by reducing the project in size and scale.

“We have listened closely to the comments and advice provided and we hope the amended scheme is more acceptable to the local authority and the community.”

Even though two turbines have been removed the wind farm still has the potential to generate more than 19,700MWh of green electricity every year.

This is the equivalent annual electricity needs of more than 4,000 homes and would have the effect of reducing up to 8,475 tonnes of carbon each year.

The wind farm could bring a number of other benefits to the local community, including employment and procurement opportunities for businesses, and a Community Benefit Fund for projects.

Westham resident and Yes to Polegate Wind Farm member Andy Durling said: “The application is for fewer, shorter turbines with less impact upon local residents, and far less visual impact upon the landscape and local heritage.

“GTR have clearly listened to local concerns and to feedback from the local planning department and have done their best to meet those concerns.

“Yes to Polegate Wind Farm believes the benefits of the scheme in helping us deal with the energy and climate crises far outweigh whatever adverse local impacts that some people perceive will occur.”

Karen Stewart, for the group, added: “We realise how important clean, green, renewable British energy is for keeping the lights on and getting us off dependence upon increasingly expensive gas.

“Schemes like this also help us move away from other fossil fuels such as oil and coal, which are primarily responsible for the increasingly damaging effects of global warming.

“We are convinced, from our campaigning experience, the majority of local residents, like the majority of the British public in poll after poll, are in favour of wind power projects such as this one.”

The scheme will be considered by Polegate Town Council on Thursday 14th March at St Johns Church Hall 7.30pm.