Controversial electricity sub-station plans approved

Western Telegraph: SPARKING CONTROVERSY: The electricity sub-station in Lower Thornton. PICTURE: Milford Mercury. (5281404) SPARKING CONTROVERSY: The electricity sub-station in Lower Thornton. PICTURE: Milford Mercury. (5281404)

A PLANNING application to build an electricity sub-station at Lower Thornton, Milford Haven came before a planning committee on Tuesday, despite it having already been partially built.

The applicant Good Energy Rose Cottage Ltd was granted permission to build a solar photovoltaic farm on land at Woodson last October, and the permission included the building of the sub-station.

The compound, measuring 20m by 65m, was supposed to be built at a location approximately 80 metres to the south west than where it is now.

Addressing the committee, the applicant Richard Palmer said work was ready to commence at the original location when Murco raised concerns about the proximity to its underground pipelines.

“We had to take the risk to start,” he said.

“We know it’s a risk applying in retrospect.”

He expected that the sub-station would be completed in the next 10 days.

Local campaigner Lynne Hughes also addressed the committee. She lives in a cottage just 100 metres away from the site.

She said: “If elected members had considered the siting of the sub-station where it is now, I think it would have been refused.

“It is sited on higher ground now; originally it would have been out of sight.”

“It was built in retrospect and they automatically thought they’d get away with it.”

She added that the development is going to affect residents for the next 25 to 30 years, and asked councillors if they were 100% sure it is safe.

Local councillor Stephen Joseph said he sympathised with the applicant who was forced to make a quick decision, but in his mind the risk was too great.

“There has got to be a better place for it,” he said, “I feel we’re being rail-roaded into approving it.”

A vote to go along with the planning officer’s recommendation to approve the application was won by 10 votes to two.

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