CAMPAIGNERS have called on a council to come to a swift decision over a £500m electrical power station.
National Grid’s proposal to build the controversial IFA2 interconnector on former navy airfield Daedalus in Lee-on-the-Solent was expected to be decided on by Fareham Borough Council’s planning committee this month.
We want an end to be put to this but it would not surprise me to see it delayed until 2017.Bill Hutchison
But that has been delayed because a report from expert consultants into the effect the development would have on aircraft using the airfield has not been finished.
That has led to concerns the decision will be pushed back until next year, leaving residents opposed to the 22-metre high station fearing the saga will drag on.
The report from Arcadis was due to be finished last month and the council would independently appraise before making their decision.
Bill Hutchison, chairman of the Hill Head Residents’ Association, which is against the proposals, said: ‘I suspect the delays are due to the fact they have not got the answers they wanted.
‘If the building is likely to affect the airfield, we need to know that.
‘We want an end to be put to this but it would not surprise me to see it delayed until 2017.’
The report is likely to play a big role in the council’s decision as Aviation manufacturer Britten-Norman, which rents hangars at the site, has submitted objections over the plans due to the impact IFA2 would have on planes landing on the airfield.
Councillor Sean Woodward, Fareham Borough Council’s leader, previously said the local authority would not allow anything to be built on the airfield that would adversely affect the airport’s future.
He added: ‘At this moment, we are unclear as to when we can make a decision as we are still awaiting the report, so it is the hands of Arcadis and National Grid to get the report finished. We are hopeful to be able to hold the meeting next month but it could rumble on to next year.’
The prospective energy link will connect the UK to France via 120 miles of sub-sea cables enabling electricity to be imported from and exported to Europe.
The plans came in two applications, one for the building at Daedalus and one for permission for cables at Chilling to connect to the building to the National Grid.
The station will be within 200m of nearby homes, leaving some residents concerned about its impact.
But Cllr Woodward said the project would bring in extra money for the council.
The meeting of the council’s planning committee over the decision is set to take place in Ferneham Hall, Fareham, where more than 500 residents from the town and Gosport are expected to attend.
Residents of the Gosport borough had previously feared they would be unable to speak at the meeting, but Fareham council is set to allow them as around 90 per cent of objectors to the application are from Gosport.
Gosport Borough Council decided at a meeting in July it would unanimously oppose the plans.
Councillor Mark Hook, Gosport Borough Council’s leader, said: ‘We will continue to press Fareham over the recommendation for the proposals.
‘This is a huge topic which is very much in the public interest and we are very keen to know what Fareham are thinking so we can plan our response.’
A spokesman for the National Grid said: ‘We are still working on the airport compatibility study and the final report is due soon.’