Councillors look for change of Planning Policy

MEMBERS of the Garioch Area Committee chose not to pass on any view to the Full Council on plans for a new Electricity Sub-Station next to the existing Sub-Station at Leylodge, Kintore.

Permission for construction of a 400 / 275 KV Sub-Station and Switchgear Building with security fencing, landscaping and access track is being sought by Scottish Hydro-Electric Transmission Ltd, Aberdeen, and was subject to a pre-determination hearing held in Kintore Village Hall on Thursday, (September 27), as is required in the Town and County Planning Regulations.

The Sub-Station is required as part of the upgrade of the East Coasttransmission line.

The application had generated two letters of representation regarding the impact on wildlife, the effects of EMF (Electromagnetic Field), and noise and visual impact. The Predetermination Hearing had included local councillors, Council officers, reprenstitives of the applicant and objectors along with expertys on EMF, Landscape Design, Noise and the Operation of Sub-Stations.

The application will require to be determined at a meeting of the Full Council.

The committee were informed that one of the concerns raised regarded the construction of twelve new pylons, four at 48.2 metres in height and eight at 15 metres high and Scottish Hydro-Electric had agreed to look at the cost of burying overhead cables. However, they had reported back that the estimated cost would be an additional £4.3million or approximately nine per cent of the total construction cost.

East Garioch Councillor Martin Ford said that he did have some concerns over the impact of the new Sub-Station on neighbouring properties but not any that he regarded an issue with the planning process. He said he recognised concerns but that he didn’t think they were sufficient ground for refusal.

Inverurie and District Councillor Martin Kitts Hayes said that the application flagged-up the inadequacy of holding Pre-determination Hearings, saying he would much rather that applications such as these be brought before the Garioch Area Committee where members could go on a site-visit and discuss the proposals in the normal manner. He added that he thought the whole process of Pre-determination Hearings was “irrelevant” and that they were “not a good democratic process”. He added he would be happy if the committee agreed not to pass on any view to the Full Council.

The committee agreed not pass on view to the Full Council and also passed on request that either a Council Officer or a Working Group could look at the existing Town and County Planning Regulations to see if changes in regulations regarding Pre-determination Hearings could be made.