Report number: CAB/WS/22/012
Portfolio holder: Councillor David Roach
Lead officer: Julie Baird
(Due to ensuring the representation is submitted by the required deadline of 17 March 2022, with the agreement of the Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, the call-in procedure for this item has been suspended. The Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee is satisfied that the decision proposed is reasonable in all the circumstances and to it being treated as a matter of urgency).
1. The draft Relevant Representation, attached as Appendix A to Report number: CAB/WS/22/012, be endorsed and submitted to the Planning Inspectorate under s56 of the Planning Act 2008.
2. The Director (Planning and Growth), in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Planning, be authorised to make amendments to the draft Relevant Representation, prior to its submission to the Planning Inspectorate.
3. Delegated authority be granted to the Director (Planning and Growth), in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Planning, to fully engage with the Pre-examination and Examination stages of the Development Consent Order process in relation to the Sunnica proposals, in order to pursue the concerns identified in the Relevant Representation.
(Due to ensuring the representation was submitted by the required deadline of 17 March 2022, with the agreement of the Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny (O&S) Committee, the call-in procedure for this item had been suspended. The Chair of the O&S Committee was satisfied that the decision proposed was reasonable in all the circumstances and to it being treated as a matter of urgency).
(Report number CAB/WS/22/012)
The Cabinet considered this report which set out the Relevant Representation of West Suffolk Council, under Section 56 of the Planning Act 2008, in respect of the Sunnica Energy Farm application.
Councillor David Roach, Portfolio Holder for Planning, drew relevant issues to the attention of the Cabinet and explained that the Sunnica Energy Farm was a scheme for the installation of solar photovoltaic (PV) generating panels and on-site battery energy storage systems (BESS) across two sites within Suffolk and Cambridgeshire. The proposal would include the infrastructure associated with the required connection to the national grid, including an extension to the Burwell National Grid Substation. The scheme was defined as a National Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) under the Planning Act 2008, as it was an onshore generating station in England exceeding 50 megawatts (MW). Consent for a NSIP takes the form of a development Consent Order (DCO) and the application would be determined by the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. The Council was a statutory consultee in the consenting process.
The application was now in the pre-examination phase. As required by s56 of the Planning Act 2008, Sunnica had notified the Council, as a person identified as falling within the categories of persons that must be notified that the application had been accepted for examination. The s56 Notice set out the period in which relevant representations were invited to be made to the Planning Inspectorate. This period ran from 3 February 2022 to 17 March 2022. The four affected Councils (West Suffolk Council, East Cambridgeshire District Council, Suffolk County Council, Cambridgeshire County Council) would submit a relevant representation on an individual basis to ensure that the Examining Authority was fully informed of the matters of concern to the Council and its communities and interests that the Council represented.
Appendix A to Report Number CAB/WS/22/012 set out the concerns of this Council which were stating that the Council could not support the proposal as it stood and considered that development consent should not be granted for the proposal, as submitted.
Key concerns remained in a number of areas in relation to the likely environmental impacts, the quality of assessment of these impacts and the lack of mitigation in a number of topic areas. Suffolk County Council had also stated within its Relevant Representation, that the submitted material in relation to transport and access was not acceptable and that there were deficiencies in the highway-related provisions in the draft DCO.
A project of the scale and nature proposed would radically change the sense of place, the place attachment of the residents and the recreational amenities of the affected villages and communities, over a long period of time. It was considered that the applicant’s submission did not recognise this and the need to mitigate/compensate for these impacts.
The draft Relevant Representation also raised concerns in relation to cultural heritage and the assessment of non-designated heritage impacts, the acceptability of the applicant’s noise assessments and assessment of impacts ... view the full minutes text for item 339