Giant Deeside power plant plans thrown out

Reporter:

Jennifer Meierhans

A MASSIVE converter station that threatened to dominate the Deeside skyline has been turned down for a second time.

Flintshire Council planners rejected revised plans from the National Grid for a 25-metre structure at Connah’s Quay Power Station in Kelsterton Road.

But the grid has already launched an appeal and maintains there are no other viable sites for “the most advanced converter station in the world”.

Many speakers directed the applicants to the Deeside Industrial Estate as a preferred site.

The development is part of the Western Link, a project to build one of the world’s longest undersea power cables to bring renewable energy from Scotland.

The planning committee first threw out the plans in February amid fears the giant structure would blight the landscape and cause noise. The grid came back with revised building dimensions it claimed were “less than half the size of the original”.

The latest plans included a curved roof, landscape screening and acoustic protection to prevent noise but objectors were not swayed.

Geoff Bennett spoke against the plans on behalf of residents. He said: “National Grid state they have addressed visual and noise impact by designing a wavy roof and putting a mound in front of the enormous building.

“We challenge their proposal as it in no way addresses the unmistakable fact that there will be a huge visual impact, 24/7 noise emission and potential health risk which is unacceptable.”

Mark Williams of National Grid said the new plans meant there would be no increase to background noise, even at night.

He added: “There is a real need for this converter station. We have come a long way since February. We want to be good neighbours.”

Cllr Paul Shotton said: “The height is an obstructive 75 feet high, albeit a reduction of 15 feet and would be a blot on the landscape. It is a large carbuncle, or should I say, a pretty large carbuncle with its fancy wavy design.

“Noise levels are still a concern as until the structure was built residents would not know what the noise levels were and then it would be too late.”

He added: “Residents implore National Grid as the good neighbour they profess to be to scrap these proposals and build the converter on Deeside Industrial Estate on the north side of the River Dee.”

A statement from National Grid and SP Transmission said: “The visual impact of the converter station was reduced significantly, and work was done to ensure noise from the converter station would be below background levels at nearby residential properties.

“The companies have already appealed to Welsh Government against the decision to refuse the earlier outline planning application. They had a statutory obligation to appeal because there are no other viable sites for the converter station.”

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