The council’s tourism chief has estimated the impact that the proposed Navitus Bay windfarm would have on the local economy

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The construction of the proposed Navitus Bay windfarm could cost the Bournemouth tourism industry £2.5bn, a local politician has claimed.

Mark Smith, director of tourism at Bournemouth Council, told the Bournemouth Echo that he will be seeking a similar amount in compensation from the government if the windfarm goes ahead.

The claim comes after a poll found that 20% of visitors to Bournemouth would go elsewhere during the construction phase.

Bournemouth’s tourism industry is worth an estimated £503million and it could take up to 25 years to build the offshore windfarm.

Mr Smith told the local newspaper: “The potential effects for Bournemouth are genuinely scary.

“We mainly sell this resort on its views and scenic beauty. If you change that unique selling point and put the town through a long period of heavyweight construction, it will be devastating.”

Navitus Bay would be the largest offshore windfarm in the UK, with up to 194 turbines measuring around 200-metres tall.

The Planning Inspectorate is hosting an open-floor hearing on the issue at the Bournemouth International Centre later this month (14 October).

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