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 16 September 2018
From Dr Andy Scarlett


Whilst I accept that such projects involving major infrastructure are of national importance, I feel very strongly that the application in question should not be permitted to proceed in its current form, for the following reasons:-
1. Impact upon the Character & Amenity of the Locality due to the Proposed Location/Siting of Substation(s) at Necton: The proposed location is a green field site of considerable natural beauty. Importantly it is proposed to locate the necessary structures upon the highest (elevated) area of land in the local area, thereby making the extremely high buildings which are proposed (>20 metres high?) visible from a very considerable distance. This potentially risks maximising the environmental impact of the development and blighting the visual amenity of residents of numerous local villages and visitors to and travelling through this rural area. Limited information available to-date from the applicant regarding this aspect suggests that very little consideration has been given to taking significant steps to minimise the visual magnitude of the proposed development and its likely impact both on the local environment and the upon the current enjoyment of that environment by residents. Accepting that developments of this kind have to be located somewhere, it would be reassuring to see the applicant take more realistic steps in site selection & site configuration to minimise environmental (visual) impact.

2. Ambient Noise Levels in Necton & Surrounding Villages: The Applicant has provided little information to local residents regarding this matter, but the selection of a Direct Current-based system (over an AC system) is believed likely to cause the proposed substation to generate significant ambient noise levels, which in turn are likely to require mitigation measures in order to limit environmental impact. The high-elevation of the proposed substation site risks maximising propagation of any generated noise over a radius of a number of miles, thereby impacting upon the aural amenity of residents in local villages (noise levels in these rural villages typically being low).

3. Inadequate / Flawed Public Consultation: Whilst the applicant has undoubtedly taken steps to engage with the General Public, the level of detail provided in this process has unfortunately been at best limited. Despite repeated requests from Necton and Holme Hale Parishioners, the applicant has declined to provide artist’s impressions of the proposed substation structures to a level of detail where their magnitude & orientation, relative to surrounding local features & landscape, could be objectively assessed. Representatives of the applicant have also declined to attend numerous meetings held between concerned residents and our local MP George Freeman. There is a desire in the locality for meaningful engagement with the applicant, but this appears unlikely to be forthcoming until after the expiry of the representation period. Given this experience and the associated timelines, it is difficult if not impossible to regard the Public Consultation undertaken by the applicant to-date, regarding a proposed development of such a major nature within a rural area, as anything other than inadequate.

Dr Andy Scarlett
Sun 16/09/18