AQUIND Interconnector

The list below includes a record of advice we have provided for this project. For a list of all advice issued by the Planning Inspectorate, including non-project related advice, please go to the Register of advice page.

There is a statutory duty, under section 51 of the Planning Act 2008, to record the advice that is given in relation to an application or a potential application, including the name of the person who requested the advice, and to make this publicly available.

Preview
Enquiry received via email
response has attachments
I refer to your letter dated 11 May 2020, described as a ‘progress note’ and which was circulated to all Interested Parties, Statutory Parties and Other Persons. The letter covers a number of matters but I wish to focus on the topic of the pre application consultation exercise. The letter contains the following observation: We have received a number of representations in relation to the formal acceptance of the application for Development Consent by the Planning Inspectorate, and others in relation to the perceived adequacy of pre-application consultation by the Applicant. It may be useful for all parties to know that our current thinking is that both matters precede and therefore lie outside the remit of the Examination process, and it is therefore unlikely that we will consider them in detail during the Examination. In its Adequacy of Response letter dated 28 November 2019 (document AoC-016) Winchester City Council (WCC) raised concerns over the adequacy of the pre application consultation exercise. This concern was discounted and in the letter dated 12 December 2019 (doc PD-001) the Planning Inspectorate stated that the application was accepted for examination. The Section 55 Checklist (doc PD-002) was the only explanation available that in any way sought to explain the reasons behind the acceptance decision. Having noted its contents, WCC had outstanding questions and therefore raised the matter again in its Relevant Representation (doc RR-198) and was intending to raise it at the Preliminary Meeting. Given the above circumstances, WCC is therefore grateful that the Examination Panel has alerted us to the fact that consideration of this matter should precede the Examination. It is considered that there is sufficient time to raise this matter now with PINs as the application has not yet moved into the Examination Stage, a phase in the procedure which is clearly defined in Section 98 of the 2008 Planning Act. WCC is therefore taking this opportunity to seek clarification and a more detailed explanation of why PINS discounted its concerns over the pre application consultation exercise. The concerns of the council relate to the way Aquind has sought to fulfil its duties under Section 47 of the act (duty to consult the local community). The WCC letter Adequacy of Response (doc AoC-016) sets out in detail the concerns and what are regarded as the failures to comply with Section 47. To summarise, the council had concerns relating to the following: • A failure to appreciate that the application area is not uniform in nature and needed different and potentially novel approaches to consultation across it. • A failure to offer people reasonable access to hard copies of the details. • A failure to reach out and engage with the local community across the whole of the area potentially impacted by the proposed development. • A failure to explain to recipients of the consultation letter sent to the organisers of groups based at community centres in Denmead and Hambledon why they where being approached. • The failure to reach out to the local business community. The Council has been left confused by the apparent dismissal of its concerns in the Section 55 Checklist. In section 5 of the matrix, under the question “Have any Adequacy of Consultation Representations been received from ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’ and ‘D’ local authorities; and if so, do they confirm that the Applicant has complied with the duties under s42, s47 and s48?” it makes the following comment on the Winchester representations: Winchester City Council states within its AoCR: “Overall, Winchester City Council considers that the applicant has complied with its duties under Sections 42, & 48 of the Planning Act 2008 (as amended). Regarding Section 47, the council has concerns over the extent of the engagement with the local community which it feels could have been more inclusive.” The Council’s concerns regarding the Denmeat and Hambledon areas are noted, and there is applicable discussion in paragraph 8.4.1.4 of the Consultation Report (Doc 5.1). We note the Council’s concerns regarding a perceived lack of consultation with local businesses, and observation that it is felt that the consultation could have been more inclusive. The Council were consulted on the Statement of Community Consultation and the Applicant appears to have consulted in accordance with the commitments set out within the SoCC. Aquinds consultation report (Doc 5.1) para 8.4.1.4 reported above states: “It was subsequently realised that the distribution area did not include one stretch of the proposed onshore underground cable route along Hambledon Road In addition, the public exhibition event held at Lovedean Village Hall (the venue nearest the area affected) was attended by a significantly higher number of individuals than the events held at Waterlooville Community Centre and Milton Village Community Hall, thereby illustrating that the local community were well informed of the consultation. All these areas were included in the mailing area for the statutory consultation period in 2019 and all subsequent mailings”., or an area of land potentially affected by the Proposed Development in the Denmead area. However, the Applicant does not believe this impacted the ability of the local community to participate in the consultation, due to the extensive publicity conducted through other channels as detailed below in the remainder of Chapter 8. Doc 5.1 does not address all the specific concerns raised by WCC. Reading the above, if taken at face value, it appears to be saying notwithstanding any comments made by WCC, PINs accepts compliance with the regulations since Aquind undertook a consultation exercise in accordance with its written Statement of Community Consultation (SoCC). This is despite the fact that WCC considers the SoCC to be deficient for the reasons set out in its letter. In the circumstances and particularly with the concern raised by the local parish council a more thoughtful analysis of the points raised by WCC against the actions of Aquind was expected. I am therefore inviting you to explain in more detail why the specific issues raised by WCC where discounted, before the application moves on into the Examination Stage.
Thank you for your letter dated 26 May 2020, which has been forwarded to the Examining Authority (ExA). I apologise for the delay in responding to you. A copy will be published on the project webpage and added to the Examination Library (EL): [attachment 1]. In the meantime, as Case Manager for the project, I thought it would be helpful to respond to some of the points you have raised. In accordance with s51 of the Planning Act 2008 (PA2008), please note that a copy of my response will be published to the project webpage. In relation to the adequacy of the Applicant’s consultation, and your response during the acceptance stage (EL reference AoC 016), I can assure you that your comments were fully considered when a decision was made on firstly, whether the Applicant complied with its statutory duties to consult, and secondly, on whether the application was of a satisfactory standard to proceed to Examination. As you have seen from the s55 acceptance checklist (EL reference PD-002), the checklist sets out the criteria for acceptance and provides an explanation against each and whilst noting comments raised by the Local Authorities, a judgement was made that the Applicant had fulfilled its statutory duties under sections 42, 45, 46, 47, 48 and 49 of the PA2008. Whilst the s55 checklist does not in your view contain the level of detail you consider it should, or provide the answers which you are seeking, the application was accepted for Examination on 12 December 2019 in accordance with the PA2008. Therefore, it must now proceed to Examination as that decision is final. There is no mechanism under the PA2008 for the decision to be re-visited, and the only way in which it could be overturned is through a successful Judicial Review. For this reason, the ExA is unlikely to consider any submissions relating to this during the Examination. I am sorry if this information is not the response you were hoping for. If you have any further queries in relation to the above or any other matter, please do not hesitate to contact me.

26 June 2020
Winchester City Council - Ms Julie Pinnock Service Lead Built Environment
Enquiry received via meeting
response has attachments
Project update meeting and review of draft documents
Please see the attached meeting note

28 August 2019
AQUIND Limited
Enquiry received via phone
response has attachments
Telecon to discuss landowner consultation regarding the Aquind Interconnector proposal
Please see the attached meeting note

09 August 2019
AQUIND Limited
Enquiry received via meeting
response has attachments
Project update meeting
Please see the attached meeting note

18 June 2019
AQUIND Limited
Enquiry received via meeting
response has attachments
A meeting was held between the Applicant and the Inspectorate
Please see that attached note of the meeting

18 December 2018
AQUIND Limited
Enquiry received via meeting
response has attachments
Project Inception Meeting
Please see the attached meeting note

07 September 2018
AQUIND Limited