Wind farm visitor centre location criticised

Rampion Wind Farm

News that a visitor centre for the new Rampion wind farm would be sited in Brighton was met with criticism from Herald readers.

The wind farm is visible from the coast off Wothing along to Brighton, but the bulk of the construction work was done from Worthing and Lancing.

As such, the vast majority of readers said that as a thank you the visitor centre should be built here.

Spring Aylwyn said: “So all the residents who have had to put up with all the work involved have to pay to travel to Brighton. Why?”

Meraki Bateman added: “The wind farm is from Shoreham, Lancing and Worthing, so therefore it makes sense to have a visitor center in any of these three locations not Brighton, and I may be mistaken but weren’t Brighton against wind farms spoiling their view?

“Tourists would surely like to see the visitor center where they can see the wind farm before them and others to learn more plus it would boost the tourism industry here where l personally feel Brighton benefits enough from tourism, so come on Rampion, do our towns proud and have your visitor center here with us.”

While Gary Mann said: “The wind farm comes ashore at Brooklands Pleasure Park on the Worthing/Lancing border and going right through Sompting Village and on up the South Downs causing all manner of upheaval. Why on earth is it being placed in Brighton, they haven’t had to put up with the work?”

Chris Tomlinson, development and stakeholder manager for Rampion Offshore Wind Farm, said: “We are making a significant investment for the long-term to offer free access to the Visitor Centre for residents, businesses, visitors to the area and schools and colleges.

“We therefore wanted to ensure high footfall to maximise the availability of this valuable information and educational resource, raising awareness about climate change, offshore wind energy and the Rampion story. We did look at venues in Worthing but they were either too small or required substantial building or refurbishment works.

“The venue in Brighton provides an opportunity for around 12 million visitors a year. The seafront arches also have a view of the wind farm (on a clear day), excellent public transport connections and access for all abilities.

“The venue has a suitable floor space area for our needs and being a newly refurbished building, it does not require any renovation works.

“As part of our £4million voluntary contribution to projects and initiatives that will benefit the local community, a £3.1million Rampion Fund, managed by Sussex Community Foundation, will be available to support community projects from Littlehampton in the west to Beachy Head in the east and Twineham in the north.

“This includes £500,000 specifically ringfenced for East Worthing & Lancing and £300,000 for the onshore substation community, as we wanted to recognise the two onshore areas where the project has had a greater presence. Offshore, in addition to our £100,000 charitable donation to the RNLI, there is a dedicated fund of £300,000 for sea user organisations to support marine safety initiatives, education and community awareness of the marine environment, and improvements to facilities for clubs, organisations and associations.

“We hope the Rampion Fund will provide a positive contribution for local communities and a lasting legacy for the Rampion project.”

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