Councillors reject sub-station plan

COUNCILLORS have rejected controversial plans to build an electricity sub-station for a huge off-shore wind farm on land at Sizewell, near Leiston, despite being advised there was “an overriding national need” for the development.

By Sarah Chambers

COUNCILLORS have rejected controversial plans to build an electricity sub-station for a huge off-shore wind farm on land at Sizewell, near Leiston, despite being advised there was “an overriding national need” for the development.

Members of Suffolk Coastal District Council met yesterday to consider Greater Gabbard Offshore Winds; proposals to build a sub-station up to 15m high on a site to the south of the Sizewell Gap Road.

The proposed siting has prompted strong criticism from residents, who argue the building should sit closer to the Sizewell A and B nuclear power plants to avoid an unsightly spread of industrial buildings, and talks have been taking place to try to find a viable alternative.


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Greater Gabbard is planning to build up to 140 wind turbines in the Outer Thames Estuary and the sub-station is needed for the electricity they will generate.

The company has been in talks with Sizewell B about a possible alternative site at Sizewell Wents, but has warned that even if they prove successful, this would lead to delays of at least six months in connecting the power to the grid.

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Suffolk Coastal planners had recommended that they should be given authority to approve the application in their report to the north area development control sub-committee, despite the concerns about visual intrusion.

“There is public concern that the proposed development is proposed on land to the south of Sizewell Gap Road and is therefore 'breaking out' of the established, relatively confined area of the existing power station complex to the north,” they acknowledged.

“However, given the inability of the applicants to date to secure a less intrusive alternative site to the north of Sizewell Gap Road and the fact that this is a development that will help deliver a major offshore renewable energy project in line with national policy, it is concluded that there is an overriding national need for this development.”

The council received 15 letters of objection to the proposal, and parish councils closest to the site were strongly opposed.

Leiston-cum-Sizewell Town Council described the siting as “totally inappropriate and a ghastly visual intrusion in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty”. Aldeburgh Town Council was against using a greenfield site for the building, and Theberton and Eastbridge Parish Council said it was “totally opposed” to all aspects of the plans.

A spokesman for the district council said: “Councillors on the north area development control sub-committee are fully in support of the principle of the offshore wind farm but in terms of the sub-station they have concerns about where it should be placed.

“They wanted alternative sites to be fully explored. They are very keen to cut down the visual intrusion in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.”

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