POLEGATE: New wind turbines would tower on horizon

ARTIST’S impressions of the area’s first wind farm, showing the turbines towering over the countryside have been released.

Proposals for a wind farm at Polegate were up for consultation recently and there were fears that the 125 metre high structures could ‘ruin’ views.

The view from the footbridge along the Cuckoo Trail over the Polegate By-pass - artist's impression

The view from the footbridge along the Cuckoo Trail over the Polegate By-pass - artist's impression

Some residents were concerned the five large turbines off Shepham Lane, next to the Polegate bypass, may spoil the landscape but others described them as ‘beautiful’.

These computer-generated images have been released by Galliford Try Renewables (GTR), the firm that plans to install the turbine. A range of photographs from viewpoints across the county were put up at exhibitions in both Stone Cross and Polegate.

They showed the turbines would be visible on the landscape, on a clear day, from Hailsham, Eastbourne, Bexhill and Mount Caburn near Lewes.

Roger Hardman, a resident at the consultation in Polegate, said he thought the wind turbines would ‘ruin’ the view of the South Downs, which has recently been made a National Park, in many locations in and around Eastbourne.

He said, “I think people will have a huge shock when these things go up because the visual impact is going to be astounding.”

Originally the five turbines were being planned as up to 140 metres high, but GTR has now concluded that turbines of around 125 metres would be most appropriate.

A spokesperson from GTR said, “This provides a balance between maximising energy production and minimising environmental impacts. The planning application will be based upon 126.25 metres or 415ft in height.”

GTR has admitted it was difficult to find an appropriate site for the turbines because much of the region has ‘landscape constraints’ including the South Downs National Park and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The spokesperson added, “The proposed site is outside any international, national or locally designated areas of importance and is less sensitive to a wind farm development than surrounding areas.”

The site is also favoured by GTR because it is located next to the busy Polegate By-pass dual-carriageway and all residential properties are more than half a kilometre from the turbines.

It has been looking at the possibility of a wind farm at the site since 2009 and, following the recent consultations with local residents and research on the site, plans to submit a planning application this summer.

If the application is successful construction will start in 2013.

To sign up for the online consultation and receive email updates visit the website www.shephamwindfarm.co.uk.