Bridport & West Dorset News, Views, Videos & Curiosities

Wind turbines plan for prominent West Dorset beauty spot

Radio masts at Rampisham photographed by Nigel Mykura

The blades of the wind turbines proposed for Toller Down would reach roughly the same height as the radio masts at Rampisham by the A356 in West Dorset. Photograph by Nigel Mykura, reused under Creative Commons Licence.

TWO WIND turbines reaching as high into the sky as the biggest masts at Rampisham radio station could be erected on the summit of Toller Down in Dorset.

Farmer Henry Lovegrove, of Comforts Orchard, Corscombe, wants to put a pair of turbines near the A356, up along from the Rampisham site.

The machines could generate enough electricity to power about 100 homes.

A design and access statement supporting Mr Lovegrove’s planning application acknowledges that two 34.2m high structures would be visible for many miles across the West Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

But it argues that “the skyline has already dramatically been broken” by the radio masts at Rampisham and the mobile telephone masts at Winyard’s Gap.     

And it claims: “The proposed turbines at Toller Down will enhance the area’s eco-credentials rather than ruin the skyline further.”

The nearest property is about 500 metres away.

In the video from Transition Vision TV’s Farming Channel that accompanies this piece, Mr Lovegrove says that if planning permission is granted the next stage will be “to go out to to tender, because I haven’t got any money, to developers, and ask them to quote a price for ground rental.”

He adds: “There is some pressure to get the local community to invest in this, and that will also be a question I’ll be asking the developers, to see if they will offer the opportunity to people in the locality to invest in these turbines, so they actually feel they own local energy production.”

The application is strongly supported by Corscombe Parish Council, while individuals from across Dorset and Somerset have also backed Mr Lovegrove’s vision.

“Bring them on and save our planet,” writes Ricky Hawkins from Shepton Beauchamp in Somerset.

“I doubt that they will offend the eye,” writes Ali Cameron, who indicates that he will be able to see them from his home in Marshwood.

Rev David Harknett, of the Melbury Team Ministry, writes: “The turbines seem very appropriate in an AONB. After all, we are seeking to safeguard the outstanding beauty of our whole planet!” 

Objectors include the Boileaus from Witcham Farm in Rampisham.

They say: “The dowland ridge has more than enough ugly clutter along its length.”

They add: “Off shore wind farms have been approved for Dorset, therefore we have more than contributed to the ‘green power movement’”.

And they conclude: “Applications of this sort are all about money. We would like to suggest that in the unlikely event the application is approved, it should be on condition that 90% of the money generated is distributed to the rural area and individuals blighted by these machines.”