IFA2 project takes another step as planning approved

An aerial view of the Solent airfield. Picture by Shaun Roster
An aerial view of the Solent airfield. Picture by Shaun Roster
Commuters ride a crowded South Western Railway train on the Portsmouth to London line. Picture: Carey Tompsett/PA Wire

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CONTROVERSIAL plans for a £500m electrical converter station have been approved by councillors.

The IFA2 project was voted through by the planning committee of Fareham Borough Council following changes in the proposal by National Grid.

The original plans received a backlash from councillors and residents during public consultation.

The revised approved plans featured more open space and a reduction in the height and size of the building.

Head of the project at the energy provider David Luetchford said: ‘The first area we have changed is the height and size of the connector buildings.

‘We have built in additional sound proofing higher than required.’

The plans also include more open space with dedicated areas for dog walkers, a children’s play park and the planting of a combination of shrubs and trees.

Mr Luetchford added: ‘National Grid is determined that site exists in a harmonious environment.

‘We are committed to being a good neighbour to local communities.’

A group of leaders from nearby resident associations in the borough attended the planning meeting yesterday.

Chairman of the Peel Common residents’ association Roy Wilkinson said: ‘My attendance here today was to see the crossing of the “t”s and the dotting of the “i”s as this was a done deal from the word go.’

But Fareham Borough Council’s executive will have final say on the project at a meeting at the beginning of next month.

Leader of the council, Councillor Sean Woodward said: ‘The granting of planning consent is an important milestone for the project but, as I have always said, the most important issue is the granting or not of landlord’s consent and the executive will be considering a relevant report on December 4.

‘Irrespective of the planning consent the final decision on whether the project goes ahead falls to the council as landlord.

‘It is in that role that we are able to ensure, if we support the project, that many safeguards over and above those the planning committee can impose are in place.

‘These would relate to airport operations, the wellbeing of local residents and the Solent Enterprise Zone.’