Exhibition for proposed Necton electricity substation on show tomorrow
PUBLISHED: 11:18 13 August 2012 | UPDATED: 12:35 13 August 2012
Archant © 2012
Villagers in mid Norfolk will be able to see the full plans for a proposed electricity substation off the A47 tomorrow (Tuesday).
The Warwick Energy public exhibition for the new development between Necton and Little Fransham will be held at Necton Community Centre, Tuns Road, between 11am and 8pm.
A planning application for the substation was submitted to Breckland Council in June, but it is not yet known when the plans will be discussed.
If approved, the substation would connect the planned Dudgeon offshore wind farm, off the north Norfolk coast, to the National Grid.
Designs for the 15-acre development were on show during a public exhibition in Necton in April and the deadline for comments on the plans from residents was July 31.
James Watling, Necton Parish Council clerk, said its members have received 11 formal complaints from villagers and the council was due to discuss the issue on September 3.
Mr Watling said: “We can only go on what we have received from villagers, but at the moment there has been a very low response from objectors. Based on what happened during the Little Dunham substation application, one would expect it to be different.
“The plans are different (compared to Little Dunham). It is not going to be such a blight on the skyline and will be further away.”
After looking at over 112 sites in 2009, the energy company reduced the preferred sites to 32 and then five - of which Little Dunham was top and Necton was second.
The plans for the 23-acre Little Dunham site received hundreds of objections, an action group was formed and protests were held.
Breckland councillors turned down the application for the substation in October 2010 on the potential impact on the landscape.
Warwick Energy appealed against the refusal and a two-day public hearing was held by the Planning Inspectorate in June 2011.
The planning inspector’s report recommending the refusal of the appeal was upheld by secretary of state for energy and climate change and the secretary of state for communities and local government in September 2011.
But in April the High Court ordered ministers to reconsider their opposition - a decision has not yet been made.
Mark Petterson, project director for Warwick Energy, said Little Dunham was still the preferred site out of the two.
“We’ll obviously make a decision at the time,” he added. “If we have an approved application for Little Dunham, that is where the substation is likely to be.
“But we don’t know the timing of the decision of Little Dunham, which is why we have had to go to the extra time and cost of running two proposals in parallel, which is not ideal for anyone.”
He said the proposed Necton site was “substantially smaller” and “less intrusive” and the convertor sheds would not feature in the new design.
Mr Petterson said: “We have worked hard to minimise the impact of the substation, wherever it is located.”
The development would be 760m from Necton and 1,230m from Little Fransham and three houses would be between 280m and 830m away from the substation.
Woodland would provide would provide screening and access to the site would be off the A47.
One objection on the Breckland Council website said: “Proposed site is much too close to Necton village. The proposed service and maintenance road is unsuitable, being very narrow. The site will be an eyesore on the landscape.”
For information about the project, visit www.dudgeonoffshorewindfarmconsultation.co.uk, email firstname.lastname@example.org or freephone 0800 0352874.