Bournemouth: Mixed Feelings about Navitus Bay
Over 600 local people packed a meeting held on Saturday, to hear about and give their views on the proposed Navitus Bay offshore wind farm development.
Chaired by the Council’s Chief Executive Tony Williams, the meeting lasted almost three hours. Residents heard the case both for and against the Wind Farm from a selection of speakers including representatives of Navitus Bay Development Ltd, Bournemouth Tourism, Challenge Navitus, pro-environmental campaigners, and Poole & Christchurch Bay Residents Association. There were also speeches from Leader of the Council, Councillor John Beesley, and Bournemouth’s MPs Conor Burns and Tobias Ellwood.
Roy Pointer, of the Poole and Christchurch Bays’ Association, said that the project was “too big, too close and in the wrong location”.
Other argued that the wind farm would have a negative impact on marine life, as well as on tourism in this area.
Contrary to this, Angela Pooley, of East Dorset Friends of the Earth, advocated for this project by saying: “Climate change will have a far greater effect on the landscape than this wind farm.”
The meeting was held so that the Council can hear Bournemouth residents’ views on the proposals, which Navitus Bay Development Ltd has submitted to the Planning Inspectorate for planning consideration. After hearing from the speakers, residents were given over an hour to air their views and ask questions, before being invited to complete a feedback form offering their opinion on whether the wind farm would be good or bad for the Town.
Councillor John Beesley, Leader of the Council, said: “The Council is yet to determine its detailed response to the proposals. We have waited for the planning application to be lodged with the Planning Inspectorate and are now preparing our response to it – the feedback from the meeting today will greatly inform our thinking.”
The proposed Navitus Bay wind farm is designated a nationally significant infrastructure project, and so final approval is granted or refused at a national level. Bournemouth Council, along with the other local authorities in the area, is a statutory consultee to the application process, which is led by a national body, the Planning Inspectorate.