CONSTRUCTION traffic, the visual impact and the cost to the consumer of connecting to the grid were the top concerns raised at a community meeting about a proposed energy centre.
About 50 people attended a special Community Action Team meeting, held at Stubbington Baptist Church, in Cuckoo Lane, tonight.
The meeting was organised by Fareham Borough Council to answer questions about its agreement to lease land at Daedalus, near Stubbington, to the National Grid.
It followed a public exhibition of the power company’s plans, which would see the second electricity link from the UK to France built in Fareham at a cost of £500m.
The interconnector station would transfer electricity brought over from Europe via more than 120 miles of undersea cables, in a link called IFA2.
Council leader Sean Woodward gave a presentation at the meeting and spoke of the link’s importance in helping Britain to maintain stability in its energy supply.
He said: ‘There’s not enough power generation capacity in this country to guarantee our lights stay on.
‘They will go off in 2020 unless the power suppliers do something about it.’
He added: ‘With this link the energy supply becomes more reliable and it becomes less expensive.
‘It gives security and stability in terms of energy supply and pricing.’
There’s not enough power generation capacity in this country to guarantee our lights stay on. They will go off in 2020 unless the power suppliers do something about itCllr Sean Woodward
However, residents were split on whether they thought the interconnector station should be allowed – with some concerned about the sheer size of the building and others happy that the site would bring in money for the borough, as well as helping to lower energy bills nationally.
Stubbington resident Jim Forrest said he was concerned about the visual impact of the 20m tall building and asked for screening to be put in place.
He said: ‘The technical reason for having it here seems to be pretty sound but it is going to be a very large building and the impact of it visually will be from the northern side.
‘It will be holed up against the proposed public open space which for Stubbington residents is the main benefit of the Daedalus improvements.’
Other people asked questions about how much traffic would be passing through while it was being built and others raised concerns about the cost of bringing the cable ashore at Daedalus and then taking it back out again to connect to the grid at Chilling, in Warsash.
Morris Bray, from the National Grid, said that any costs would be to shareholders, with the greater benefit to the consumer in the long-term benefits of the project.
Cllr Woodward said this would be a large building and a major project, which would generate traffic in the short term. However the build would be completed by 2020.
Another person questioned why it was not built at Fawley, but Cllr Woodward said this was not possible as land there had been sold to a developer for housing.
He also reassured residents that the council would be working to ensure the building does not impact on the airport at Daedalus and its use.
A further exhibition of the plan is due to take place tomorrow at Warsash Victory Hall, Warsash, from 4pm until 8pm.
There will be another display on Saturday at Crofton Community Centre, Stubbington, from 10am until 4pm and on Sunday at Peel Common Junior School, The Drive, Gosport, from 11am until 3pmKimberley Barber