PLANNING chiefs in Dorset have refused to back a giant offshore wind farm, arguing it will cause “significant adverse harm” to the landscape and could damage the area’s tourist economy.

A planning inquiry into the controversial Navitus Bay scheme, that could see up to 194 turbines erected just a few miles from the Hampshire coast, is scheduled to begin mid-October.

As part of this inquiry, authorities have been asked to submit local impact reports, to be considered during the five-month process.

Purbeck District Council’s (PDC) planning board's report says the authority will be officially objecting to the development.

It concludes: “The sustainability benefits of the development are acknowledged and supported by the council.

"However, it is considered that they are outweighed by the potential adverse impacts of such a large scale proposal in such close proximity to the district.

“The adverse social and environmental impacts of the development have not been minimised to an acceptable level, and the development would result in significant adverse harm to the Purbeck Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty landscape and the significance and setting of the heritage assets of the Jurassic Coast World  Heritage Site and Durlston Castle and Park.”

The report goes on to say the council had serious concerns about the wind farm’s potential impact on local tourist economies.

Meanwhile, with the inquiry set to start at Bournemouth International Centre on October 14, Mike Unsworth, Navitus Bay project director, said: “We are confident that we have made a strong and comprehensive case for Navitus Bay and the benefits it can bring to both the region and the UK.”

The proposed wind farm will occupy a 60 square mile site west of the Isle of Wight.

It will generate enough low carbon electricity to power around 710,000 homes, offsetting approximately 1,290,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions every year.

But the 650ft-tall turbines will be just 14.5 miles from Lymington and less than 12 miles from Milford on Sea.

New Forest National Park Authority has hit out at the visual impact of the turbines.