PLANS for a controversial wind farm near Winchester are a step closer following a recent meeting of planning bosses.

Although no formal application has yet been submitted, informal discussions between council leaders and developers have taken place.

The issue is complex because the proposed site at Bullington Cross would fall across three local authorities, requiring three planning applications.

On January 10, city councillors went with the recommendation of planning experts, agreeing to an informal joint committee approach.

Winchester, Basingstoke and Deane, and Test Valley planning committees would meet together in one venue.

Developers are proposing up to 17 turbines, with the largest part of those falling within the Winchester district.

Malcolm Wright, councillor for Wonston and Micheldever, one of the villages which would be affected, said: “The problem with this wind farm is the sheer height of the turbines - they're 400ft high. No matter where you put them, they will affect the local ecology and views. And the density is an issue. It would be one of the highest density wind farms in England.”

The move comes in the wake of news that Hampshire County Council has put a blanket ban on wind farms on its land - a move branded “bonkers” by Eastleigh councillor Keith House.

Speaking to the Chronicle in December, Winchester Friends of the Earth's Chris Gilham said: “Wind energy can make a significant contribution to power generation. At the moment there are few alternatives.”