‘Disappointment’ over permission for wind farm

The turbines off Shepham Lane ENGSNL00120120401154653
The turbines off Shepham Lane ENGSNL00120120401154653

Polegate Town Council this week said it was “disappointed” that the Shepham Wind Farm had been given the green light.

The controversial scheme for three turbines has been given permission at a site north of the town.

Wealden District Council had rejected the proposal in May 2013, but developer Regeneco, the specialist renewable energy arm of the Galliford Try Group, submitted an appeal against the decision in January last year.

Following an inquiry which opened in July, an independent planning inspector issued a notice of approval this month.

A statement issued this week 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.”

The statement continued, “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 [Eric] Pickles is well known for overturning planning inspectors’ decisions.”

The planning inspector said the “substantial public benefits” from the development outweigh the adverse impacts on the Pevensey Levels, residential properties and listed buildings.

News of the g0-ahead was welcomed by Andrew Durling of the Yes to Polegate Wind Farm Group.

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.”

Campaign group Stop Shepham Wind Farm, comprised of people living in Polegate, Stone Cross and Hankham, had argued the development would destroy the beauty of the countryside.