Controversial windfarm plan is turned down

A wind farm for Polegate was turned down by Wealden planners on Wednesday morning (May 8). The three turbines, which would have been built on land off Shepham Lane in Polegate by Galliford Try Renewables (GTR), were recommended for approval by planning officers but councillors on the planning committee voted against the proposal with seven votes to four.

Roy Van-der-Kief, a resident who lives opposite the proposed turbine site, was one of three people to speak about the plans. He said, “Please don’t gamble with our local community, to sentence hundreds of families to disturbed sleep, to living under these overbearing machines. This should not even be an option to consider. The cost is too great. Green energy should go offshore.”

The Yes to Shepham Wind Farm group also spoke about the need for clean, renewable energy at the planning meeting.

Cllr John Blake, a member of the planning committee, said, “I would rather not have them but I understand the need for them. This country is on the cusp of an energy crisis. If we have a harsh winter we are in danger of having energy cutbacks.”

Cllr Blake added, “Most appeals for renewable energy plans are being allowed.”

He explained he did not think the council had a ‘significant and demonstrable’ case against the wind farm and a successful appeal would result in a significant cost to the council.

But Cllr Steve Harms said, “These things are going to be a least the height of Big Ben and twice the height of the tallest building in Eastbourne. These are going to be in your face and will produce very little renewable energy.”

The turbines were refused on the grounds that they would be dominant and intrusive on the landscape.

Speaking after the meeting, Michael Clewett, planning chair at Polegate Town Council said, “We have been opposing this for 18 months and we are delighted with today’s decision. We recognise there will most likely be an appeal and that will also be vehemently opposed.”

Mike Hodgson from Yes to Polegate Wind Farm said he and his group were ‘disappointed’ and added, “It would have produced a substantial amount of clean energy and helped bring down polluting emissions in Sussex.”