Controversial windfarm proposals set for approval

Controversial proposals for the installation of an underground cable system which would run through 14 north Norfolk villages are being recommended for approval by planning officers.

The plans, set to be discussed by North Norfolk District Council's development control committee on Thursday , are for the construction of an underground cable system from Weybourne to Great Ryburgh.

They are part of a larger project routing the cable to Little Dunham, near Swaffham, for the �1.3bn Dudgeon Offshore WindFarm, which will be 32km off Cromer. The cabling would enable connection onto the National Grid.

The distance of the cable route for consideration in north Norfolk is 27.7km.

Dudgeon Offshore Wind Ltd, which has put in the application, say Weybourne was selected in order to avoid areas with major environmental designations along much of the north Norfolk coast and because of its close proximity to the Dudgeon site.

The proposals have been amended to take consideration of the impact on farming land, drainage systems and site access, but there have still been objections raised.

Gunthorpe Parish Council said that their request that cabling proposed to affect Bale is re-routed has still been ignored.

Most Read

A letter from the council states; 'Dudgeon Offshore Wind Ltd, seem to be listening to landowners but ignoring residents of houses close to the route of the cabling. Just because the landowners have not asked for a route amendment in this case should not mean that no notice is taken of those representing the local residents.'

Parish councils in Kelling, Fulmodeston, Stibbard and Ryburgh have also objected to the plans, with Kelling Parish Council saying the duration of the work, which could take three to four years 'would be unacceptable'.

The cable route would cross the public highway in 20 locations in north Norfolk, and would pass an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty between Weybourne and Letheringsett, and the Glaven Valley and Great Ryburgh Conservation Areas.

It would also pass close to the Bale and Sharrington Conservation Areas and three Grade II listed buildings.

But officers say they are satisfied there will be no long term impact on views into or out of the areas or listed buildings.

In their report they state: 'The route has sought to protect, mitigate and minimise against any impact on nature conservation.

'Although the proposal is a significant development in terms of the length of the cable route through the district, it is considered that the impact of this proposal would be largely short-term during the construction phase.

'Once constructed the development would have minimal impact. The proposal is considered to be acceptable and to accord with development plan policies.'

Breckland councillors voted to approve proposals to lay the 17km of electrical cables for the windfarm running through 11 of their villages last month, but have rejected plans for a sub station at Dunham for the windfarm.

Mark Petterson, project manager for the Dudgeon windfarm, has said the refusal of the sub station would be appealed, but the initial refusal could delay the project by more than a year.