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‘Totally unacceptable’ - Wind farm consultations do little to ease the concerns of Necton residents

PUBLISHED: 15:40 29 March 2017

Vattenfall's offshore Norfolk Vanguard project promises to be one of the largest in the world. Picture: Vattenfall

Vattenfall's offshore Norfolk Vanguard project promises to be one of the largest in the world. Picture: Vattenfall

© Ben Barden Photography Ltd.

Residents angered by the plans to build two wind farm substations close to their homes say a public consultation did little to ease their concerns.

People in Necton, near Swaffham, say the substations needed for Vattenfall’s offshore Norfolk Vanguard and Norfolk Boreas projects should not be built close to the village.

But due to the location of a national grid substation, which is required for the distribution of electricity, Vattenfall says that Necton is the site that will make the least impact on the region and will minimise underground cabling.

In the company’s latest round of consultations, where they gather feedback from those affected by the plans, they showed their proposed location for the two substations on a map.

Phil Hayton, a resident and business owner, said: “They showed us a more detailed plan and where it might go based on the questionnaires from the first consultation, and it is totally unacceptable. They moved it west, closer to the village.

“They say they haven’t made a decision yet, so why indicate the worst possible place to put it in a presentation?

“All it has done is raise the anxiety levels of residents. It will be looming over the village on a downward slope. I don’t see what the village is going to get out of it.”

Vattenfall has said people’s homes will be safe from intrusion.

But the proposed site shown at the consultation indicated that there is a chance the substations would be built within 500 metres of residents’ properties, leaving many fearing what effect it will have on the property values.

Project manager of Norfolk Vanguard, Ruari Lean, said that people shouldn’t feel they don’t have a voice in the process and he emphasised that the company values the feedback it receives.

He said: “We have already met with hundreds of local people and many landowners and we have received useful feedback on our latest thinking about the offshore wind farm and onshore underground grid connection.

“After we have completed the nine public engagement events - and collected online feedback via the website - we will gather up all of those comments and views and use it to help shape the design of the project, onshore and offshore.”

What do you think? E mail steve.shaw@archant.co.uk

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