May 24 2013 Latest news:
By MARTIN GEORGE
Friday, August 17, 2012
Ministers have ordered a second public inquiry into plans to build a controversial electricity substation in Little Dunham after the High Court quashed their decision to block it.
The inquiry is the latest twist in Warwick Energy’s battle to place the substation, which would connect energy from the proposed Dudgeon Offshore Windfarm to the National Grid, despite the vociferous opposition of villagers.
Breckland councillors originally rejected the plans in October 2010, against the advice of their planning officers, and this decision was supported by a planning inspector in June 2011 and the secretaries of state for energy and communities in September.
However, the High Court ordered the ministers to reconsider their decision in April after ruling the planning inspector had considered the issue of alternative sites without allowing Dudgeon to make representations.
Now the ministers have asked for original planning appeal to be reopened to give them more information before they make a final decision.
Simon Fowler, chairman of Little Dunham Parish Council, said: “We will be trying to find out a little bit more information about how Warwick came to their site selection process and then we will be visiting most of the sites they rejected.
“We fail to see how with a total of 121 sites available they came up with a site on high ground next to a village. We need to show there are other or better sites available. The fact they have already gone for a site in Necton as a second string shows they do have other sites up their sleeve.”
The news came as Warwick Energy held public exhibition on Tuesday about their planning application for a back up substation site near the A47 in Necton, which they hope to use if the Little Dunham site is ruled out.
Project director Mark Petterson said: “We still feel, while both sites are good, Little Dunham is marginally the better location so that if both are approved I would expect the board to go with the site that we still believe has marginally less environmental impact, but we will have to wait and see.”
Necton resident Louise Willis, who said she had collected 250 signatures for a petition opposing the planning application, said she was concerned about the visual impact on the village.