CONTROVERSIAL plans for a £3bn wind park off the Hampshire coast have divided people living in the area affected.

Some of the residents attending an exhibition of the latest proposals supported the scheme, saying Britain needed to find new forms of energy.

But others criticised the visual impact of the Navitus Bay project and questioned whether it would be cost effective.

Navitus Bay Development Ltd (NBDL) has moved the wind farm further out to sea and reduced the maximum number of turbines from 333 to 218 following criticism of its original plans.

It has also reduced the size of the site from 76 square miles to 67 square miles and cut the maximum height of the turbines from 210 metres to 200 metres. But the park will still be only 14.5 miles from Lymington and 11.9 miles from Barton on Sea.

Hundreds of people flocked to New Milton Community Centre on Thursday to view the latest proposals.

A new interactive model, which uses Ordnance Survey maps combined with photographs, allowed them to see the wind farm from anywhere along the coast between Lymington and Barton.

Project director Mike Unsworth said almost 140 people poured through the doors in the first two hours.

He added: “We’ve had a lot of good feedback.

The majority of the people I’ve spoken to so far have been positive and in favour of the project.

“They’ve praised the level and quality of information on display compared with last year.”

The wind farm aims to generate enough electricity for about 790,000 homes – equivalent to nine times the number of homes in Bournemouth or 13 times the number of properties on the Isle of Wight.

NBDL is planning to apply for a development consent order next year and the Government is expected to make a decision in 2015.

If the scheme is given the go-ahead construction work will start in 2017, with the first power being generated three years later.