HUNDREDS of people turned out to protest against a planned wind farm south of Basingstoke.
The 200-strong gathering of opponents descended on the site of the proposed six-turbine farm in Woodmancott Down, between Dummer and Micheldever.
The demonstration was organised by campaign group Save Our Scenic (SOS) Hampshire Downs.
They argue that the 130-metre-tall turbines will have an “extensive and significant adverse impact” on the countryside, damage wildlife, and pose a risk to aircraft flying from nearby Popham Airfield.
Jonathan Moseley, who heads up the organisation, said last Friday’s demonstration was further proof that the proposal – from Oxford-based firm TCI Renewables – is unpopular.
“It just goes to show the strength of feeling that is building up against this application,” he said. “It is an opportunistic and speculative application.”
According to the company, the wind farm would produce enough electricity to power 8,000 homes.
TCI bosses have pledged to give £2,500 to the community for every megawatt of electricity generated, and according to the company’s planning statement, this could equate to £37,500 each year.
Consultations about how the money will be distributed will be held if the proposal gets planning permission.
However, Myles Bray, a 41-year-old father of four, who lives 200m from the proposed site, said he still objects:“We are very strongly against it,” he said. “Having spent the best part of two years investigating, it will have a massively detrimental effect on the community.”
Since the application was lodged with Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, more than 1,500 comments have been received.
Winchester City Council has already said it will oppose the plans and has said that the turbines would have an “unacceptable impact upon the unspoilt landscape character of the area and its contribution to the setting of the South Downs National Park”.
Mr Moseley added that together with a separate wind farm application at Bullington Cross, near Whitchurch, the borough is at risk of more wind farm applications in the borough.
“We have got to make sure we don’t allow this to happen,” he said. “Because if one is approved then it is very difficult for other planning departments to say no.”
The borough council has said the application will go before the development control committee, but added that no date has yet been set for the matter to be considered.