Luigi Beltrandi, Friston Resident, Open Floor Hearings 1, Wednesday 7 October 2020

Good evening my name is Luigi Beltrandi, I live in Friston my house  is about 500 Metres as the crow flies from the proposed land side substation  development.

I would like to confine my statement to land use and general comments on the  location of the impact of the substation development on the village of Friston as I also support the views of SASES and the other local Action groups.

We are scrutinizing these applications partly because of a change of transmission  current within the cable corridor to the grid connection at Branford.

What was non-material amendment is in fact a material chance as least in part  has necessitated the two applications before us.  

The site selection process for the substation location perversely favoured the  site at Friston for having good screening to the east and north from ancient  woodland which supposedly will screen distant views from Knodishall and  Aldringham ignoring the lack of close up screening to the south and west in  views from the village Friston.

The visual impact assessment questionably describes that the impact of the  development on views from the village and its surrounding as moderate and  insignificant erroneously reliant on mitigation by planting at 15 years growth. As  my first-year tutor used to say an architect can only persuade his client to grow  ivy over his mistakes.

The site is within an ancient landscape and the setting of several listed buildings  particularly of importance is the setting of the grade II* 11t h Century St Mary’s  Church. The views from the Church out onto the surrounding landscape will be  compromised more relevant will be the impact on views of the church and bell  tower from the ancient footpaths some obliterated by the development as these  views connect the village and its church into this historic landscape.  

Works connected with the development come close to St Mary’s church suggesting that location chosen is too small and cramped for the proposals to be  successfully integrated and accommodated into the surrounding landscape.  

The village Friston sits in a rural setting on the edge of an Area of Outstanding  Natural Beauty with no discernible difference in the quality of the surrounding  landscape to that of areas within the AONB immediately to the west of the  A1094.

The proposals for the development at Friston are roughly 1/3 larger than the  area of the village equivalent in size to Sizewell B.

The more appropriate description for what is proposed at Friston is that a huge  energy hub the size of Wembley Stadium with numerous structures as tall as 5/6  storey buildings which are alien and incongruous in form and scale to this  landscape.

Given the sensitivity of the site due to its proximity to a village, listed  structures, within an ancient landscape and the physical scale of the proposals is  the use of the Rochdale Envelope a suitable method for assessing the impact of  the proposed development? Should the applicant have been asked to produce  fully detailed proposals of the design particularly of the substation project.  

What independent scrutiny is being given to the design on technical issues for  example could parts of the development go underground or is the design of  proposed equipment as small or as silent as is available or can be designed.  Noise from the substations on what is currently a rural environment particularly  at night being a major concern.  

As councillor Marian Fellows pointed out the cumulative impact of the numerous additional projects that are in the pipeline is not being properly scrutinized or  planned for not only for their irreversible physical impact on this precious  landscape but with the disruption for years to come caused by their construction and its effect on the physical /mental health and economic wellbeing of the  communities.

For this project alone the applicant submitted two separate applications with the  prospect of the two developments being allowed to happen sequentially  prolonging their disruption.

Land is a precious resource the impact of development on this scale is  irreversible.

Allowing developers propose individual windfarm projects with their  independent cable corridors and grid connections is not a sustainable method of  procuring offshore wind generation.

Throughout East Anglia the countryside is being or is about to be ravaged by  numerous uncoordinated such projects. This blight on coastal communities has now been recognised by the Government with the BEIS Review and by National  Grid in a report of September 2020 solutions are now being brought forward  proposing connection between windfarms and with the continent reducing the required number of grid connections.

Given the emerging proposals by National Grid and the Government’s current  review should the Inspectorate not delay the scrutiny of these applications until  a coordinated plan has been produced so that we can all look forward to offshore wind generated energy within a truly sustainable future.

Other news

Want to talk with the team?

Get in touch