You are viewing content from Radio Exe Devon. Would you like to make this your preferred location?
Listen Live

Anger as Matford electricity plant decision delayed

Tuesday, 20 February 2024 14:26

By Guy Henderson - Local Democracy Reporter @GuyAHenderson

The Matford electricity station site (Picture courtesy: Google Street View)

Councillors forced to abandon meeting over 'late' documents

Controversial plans for a new electricity substation to power thousands of new houses on the outskirts of Exeter have been put on hold.

Teignbridge Council's planning committee was due to make a decision on the plant at Matford Home Farm, with their officers advising them to turn it down because it would be ‘overbearing and alien’.

But they were forced to abandon their meeting after receiving a crucial report too late for members to read.

One angry councillor said its last-minute arrival was ‘extremely bad practice’.

The debate has been deferred until a subsequent meeting, due next month.

Devon County Council is applying for permission to build the new supply station to support the large housing extension to the city between Alphington and Exminster.

Hundreds of thoe homes have already been built and many more are in the pipeline. But there is currently insufficient electricity capacity to support the planned development of 2,500 houses around Matford.

Devon County Council and the National Grid hope a new substation will be operational in 2026. It will provide power for a changing market which includes homes with heat pumps instead of gas boilers, and charging for electric vehicles.

People living nearby have raised fears over potential flooding, noise and light pollution.

Officers have recommended Teignbridge planners to reject the plan. A report to the meeting said: “Whilst the need for electricity infrastructure to serve the new dwellings at South West Exeter is acknowledged, it is considered that the proposed development on the application site would result in a large, overbearing and alien structure, which by its nature is uninviting and hostile, within the landscape immediately adjacent to both existing and proposed residential properties.”

The report says the electricity station would ‘significantly harm’ the character and appearance of the area. Exminster Parish Council has also objected, saying the plan would create an ‘overbearing’ and ‘especially unsightly’ building.

Existing buildings including Matford Home Farmhouse, Parr’s Country Store, Perimeters Fencing and Static Homes UK would be demolished to make way for the new plant.

Planning committee chairman Cllr Colin Parker (Lib Dem, Buckland and Milber) opened the meeting and then quickly had to close it again.

He explained: “At the eleventh hour, we have received a long document, and we have had little time to look at it. It is a detailed document which brings forward several arguments that we were not aware of.”

The meeting heard that the document was a Teignbridge response to information received from the county council on Friday.

Cllr John Parrott (Lib Dem, Kenn Valley) added: “This site is an emotive issue, and I think it is extremely bad practice that this should have arrived at this late stage

More from Local News

Listen Live
On Air Now Radio Exe - Non Stop Playing You Love Who You Love Zara Larsson