If you followed our live coverage from the meeting, you’ll know that members approved the application with five in favour, one against (Cllr Roger Whitby-Smith) and one abstaining (Cllr Ray Bloomfield).
Presentation of plans
The planning officer presented the plans to the committee, explaining that Flowersbrook was one of five possible onshore locations for the substation and control room. All were assessed, with three of the five discounted for environmental reasons, another because it would affect tourism, leaving just Flowersbrook as the only option.
The officer explained the substation building would be well-screened on both sides of the development, with, in the worst case scenario, only 20cm of the transformers visible above the building. Although wall lizards and doormice are present on the site, the council considered this to not be a problem, with the officer explaining work would not take place during nesting season and wildlife would be protected throughout.
Speaking in opposition
Cllr Ed Gouge spoke on behalf of the Ventnor Town Council in opposition, arguing that not enough consultation had taken place. Concern had been raised over stability issues, as well as changes being made to the application without adequate further consultation.
Steephill Road resident, Mrs Domoney, spoke on behalf of residents, also highlighting the ‘lack of consultation’, the development not enhancing the area, and accumulative noise from the transformers.
It was explained by the officer that current background noise at the site was 25 decibels (from wind in trees, sea, etc). The noise generated from the transformers would be below this at 24 decibels.
Cllr Steve Stubbings also spoke in opposition on behalf of his constituents. He said he was in favour of the offshore elements of the project, but asked councillors to remember the environmental issues raised when recently considering wind turbines in Parkhurst. He suggested the environmental impact at Flowersbrook would be worse.
Amendments to the plans
Speaking in support for the application, Cllr Barry asks for the entrance to remain as it currently is rather than having to cut the hedge down to 1m height to accommodate the 43m visibility splay.
This was agreed by the officers and the representative from Island Roads added that he’d support temporary traffic lights during the build period.
Five of the seven members present were satisfied with what they’d heard and approved the plans.
The offshore element of the PTEC project is currently being considered by the Marine Management Organisation.
Excited by the potential
PTEC Project Manager Mark Francis said,
“We are delighted with yesterday’s decision. We are really excited by this project and the potential it has to benefit not just the Island and its residents, but the UK more widely.
“We are working closely with the Marine Management Organisation and we expect a decision later this year. We hope to have the site operational by 2018.”
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