Norfolk Vanguard

The views expressed in this page do not represent those of the Planning Inspectorate. This page consists of content submitted to the Planning Inspectorate by the public and other interested parties, giving their views of this proposal.

Norfolk Vanguard

Received 14 September 2018
From The National Trust

Representation

The National Trust (“the Trust”) owns the freehold of 2000 ha of land, including a Jacobean Mansion, associated buildings, farmsteads and cottages, together forming the Blickling Estate (the “Estate”), to the west of Aylsham, Norfolk. The Trust operates a major visitor based business adjacent to the proposed cable route, supporting and promoting its preservation work.
Vattenfall proposes to acquire new permanent and temporary rights over land within the Estate, including a 100m wide easement through 4.5km of the Estate.
In 1942, pursuant to section 21 of the National Trust Act 1907, the majority of the Estate (including the proposed easement route) was declared “inalienable”. This status enables the Trust to live up to its core charitable objective of preserving places of historic interest and natural beauty for the nation, forever. Although it appears that none of the Trust’s interests are susceptible to compulsory acquisition under the DCO, the Estate is intended to be used for the purposes of the DCO should the Trust grant the necessary rights.
The Trust does not object to the principle of the Vanguard Offshore Windfarm. However we do not support proposals that would seriously damage the integrity of any archaeological remains on the Estate, or that would seriously jeopardise the ability of the visitor business to function.
The National Trust has two key outstanding concerns, and therefore objects to the proposed DCO:
• the impact of the proposals on the little understood archaeology of the Estate
• the impact of disturbance to the highways network and the consequent effect on our visitor based business
Archaeology
The Trust has a duty to protect our heritage and all archaeology within its care. In and around the Blickling corridor there is great potential for prehistoric ceremonial and funerary activity. Around Silvergate and Abel Heath are a number of ring-ditches (likely representing Bronze Age funerary barrow monuments and a later prehistoric ceremonial monument); and a number of other probable prehistoric trapezoidal enclosures. Adjacent to the Oulton Belt of woodland, the corridor crosses an area of linear enclosure likely to be Roman or medieval field systems and activity. Around Silvergate, there is considered to be medieval settlement evidence and where the corridor enters the Estate boundary, there is a post-medieval brick kiln.
No formal agreement has been reached with Vattenfall as to how the Trust, County Planning Archaeologist and developer might work together to achieve a suitable and appropriate methodology for the archaeological work to be undertaken on the Estate prior to any development.
The potential impact of development on archaeological remains in the Estate is very significant for the Trust. Our preference would be for long-term preservation of buried remains. Where excavation is necessary, the National Trust would like to ensure thorough preservation by record. The National Trust would also like to secure a method to ensure that this information is made available to visitors and the community in a way that enriches their experience and understanding of the Estate.
The schedule of mitigation (Impact to Archaeology) refers to the “Implementation of a temporary suspension of intrusive groundworks in any area where previously unknown remains are encountered until remains have undergone appropriate archaeological investigation. In the event of a discovery, archaeological requirements and necessary ‘next steps’ will be agreed in consultation with NCC HES and HE”. The Trust should be added to the consultees on any ‘necessary next steps’, any proposed mitigation and on the Written Scheme of Investigation referred to in requirement 23 of the Draft DCO.
Business Disruption
Closure of or restricting access along the road between Blickling and Aylsham should be avoided as it would likely lead to the loss of business for the Trust. Where disruption would be unavoidable, any potential visitor income loss should be underwritten by the developer. To date the Trust has not received satisfactory assurances from the developer that disruption will be minimised and where disruption cannot be minimised, adequately compensated.
Acquisition of Land
Whilst Vattenfall have said that the Trust’s interests are excluded from compulsory acquisition under the draft DCO, the documentation does not make that clear. The book of reference should be amended or an appropriate undertaking given.