Villagers oppose electricity sub station plan
Rob GarrattPeople living in a mid-Norfolk village have united against plans for a 40-acre electricity sub station on their doorstep.Villagers in Little Dunham, near Swaffham, have launched a website to fight the proposed electricity hub, which would channel energy from wind turbines off the North Norfolk coast to the rest of the country.Rob Garratt
People living in a mid-Norfolk village have united against plans for a 40-acre electricity substation on their doorstep.
Villagers in Little Dunham, near Swaffham, have launched a website to fight the proposed electricity hub, which would channel energy from wind turbines off the north Norfolk coast to the rest of the country.
The Little Dunham Action Group says the site, which would lie little over 150m from some homes, would be an eyesore as well as causing four years of chaos in the village while the substation is built.
A meeting was held on January 20 where more than 50 residents met with developer Warwick Energy to share their concerns.
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The developers say the site was chosen as the best of 100 considered for the project, which research suggests has widespread support across wider Norfolk.
Steve Bowes, whose home faces the proposed site, said: 'We live here because we love this quiet, rural village and this is totally the wrong place for an industrial development like this. Like many people, we're for renewable energy but not at the cost of destroying communities and the landscape when there are other alternatives.'
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Paul Gardner, 47, a business adviser who lives on Necton Road, the proposed road of the site, said: 'It's the sheer size of the project and devastating effect on the open countryside, and to the village, that has overwhelmed people.'
Warwick Energy submitted an application for outline planning permission to Breckland Council in December. The application will be considered by the council's development control committee, at a date yet to be set.
Residents raise concerns about an extra 48,000 HGV and other vehicle journeys on the area's roads during the construction period.
Simon Fowler, a spokesman for the parish council, said: 'Our quiet rural village will be blighted by four years of industrial development resulting in one of the largest onshore sub-stations of its kind in Europe, and it's just wholly unacceptable.'
The sub-station is part of a �1.3bn project and would act as a base to redistribute to the national grid electricity generated from a field of 168 wind turbines, which would lie 32km north of Cromer. Developers hope the windfarm will be completed as soon as 2013.
Locals say the 42-acre substation site is nearly the same size as the village itself, but the developers say the development would only take up 22 acres of the site and would be 'sensitively screened' to minimise the impact of the views and noise.
Project co-ordinator for Warwick Energy Mark Petterson said a survey conducted of the general population in Fakenham, Necton and Holt last November saw 69pc of people in favour of the project, and 8pc against.
Mr Petterson said: 'The protesters are not against the project they just want it to be somewhere else, and whichever community you wanted to put it near would say that. A development like this will cause disruption and disturbance but we will do our best to minimise this.
'In an ideal world it would not be near anyone, but we need to build a substation and its got to go somewhere. We've looked at 100 sites and we're confident this is the best one.'