The planning application was for three new gas compressors at 1650 Lincoln Road, Peterborough, including enclosures, a new vent stack, site office, administration and welfare buildings, and associated infrastructure.
The Development Manager provided an overview of the application and highlighted a number of key issues within the report and update report.
Paul Emmit the Lead Project Manager, National Grid addressed the Committee as the applicant for the application and responded to questions from Members. In summary the key points highlighted included:
· The National Grid supplied to homes and commercial users and Peterborough was a site that transported gas across the UK;
· The 40 year old site would be replaced with a modern system ultralow emissions, which would lower the impact on the environment;
· All aspects of refusal of the scheme previously had been reviewed carefully to ensure that an improved scheme was put forward;
· Residents and Parish Councils had been canvassed and comments had fed back to enhance the plans to reduce the environmental impact;
· Concerns raised by residents over the scheme had been addressed; and
· The National Grid would continue to work with the local community during construction.
The Committee discussed the application noted the consultation that National Grid had undertaken with the local community to improve and change their original proposals. The installation of a natural tree option had been a benefit to local people and would improve the visual appearance compared to the original scheme. Some members also expressed that the CO2 levels could be better.
A motion was proposed and seconded to agree that permission be granted, as per officer recommendation, subject to the conditions set out in the report. The motion was carried unanimously.
RESOLVED: (unanimous) that planning permission is GRANTED subject to the conditions set out in the report.
Reasons for the decision
The proposed development to the Peterborough Gas Compressor Station was part of a national programme of upgrades for key operational sites in the National Transmission System of gas energy supply. The primary focus of which was the reduction of emissions to meet the European Union Directive for Large Combustion Plants. The proposals were supported by EN 1, the overarching National Policy Statement for Energy. The reduction in NOx and CO2 would benefit the local environment. The proposals would result in a development which would be more visible than the current gas compressor site, in particular the new gas turbine compressor units and the vent stack (which was to be located on the proposed extended site to the east of the current facility). It was accepted that for operational and safety issues as well was planning issues such as flood risk, the eastern extension of the site was the most viable and that the principle of the development was acceptable in accordance with policy CS1 of the Core Strategy. The application details had been assessed and the key issues relating to the following matters have been identified;
Scale/design and impact on neighbours
Impact on landscape character and landscaping
Of these issues, scale and design (impact on views) and noise had been noted as of particular importance to those residents who have made comments. The previous application was refused on a visual appearance ground only. The applicant had subsequently worked hard in consultation with Glinton Parish Council, residents and the Local Planning Authority, to overcome this reason for refusal. It was considered that the proposed enhancements to the scheme do overcome the reason for refusal.
The above detailed issues have been considered against national policies contained in the NPPF and the relevant development plan policies, and whilst there will still be some impact on visual amenity, it was not significant enough to result in the application being contrary to policy. In terms of noise, the proposal would be no worse than the existing plant and indeed the proposed noise condition was more stringent than that currently imposed. All other issues have been satisfactorily dealt with and/or can be covered by the imposition of conditions. The exception was construction hours where the applicant proposes to deal with construction noise through means outside the planning system which was acceptable. There have been no objections raised by statutory or other consultees. The National Planning Policy Framework set out that proposed development which accorded with an up to date local plan should be approved. In this instance, the local plan (the development plan) was up to date because the relevant policies accorded with the NPPF. There were no other material considerations which indicated that the development should not be approved in line with the development plan.
At 2.59pm the committee had a comfort break and recommenced the meeting at 3.15pm.