Response to Planning Application 3/21/0969/FUL

Construction of a 50MW battery energy storage system facility and associated access, landscaping and other infrastructure works.|Land At Greens Farm East End Stocking Pelham Buntingford Hertfordshire SG9 0JU

Albury Parish Council strongly OBJECTS to this planning application.
The Albury Road from Little Hadham through Albury is designated as a construction traffic route to the site of this application. Whilst stated as temporary on the application, this is an irrelevant statement in our view. Whether temporary or permanent, the risk to life for all road users is real and underestimated within this proposal.
Whilst a traffic survey was conducted (September and February) the results do not reflect the serious risk posed. The majority of pedestrian, cyclist and equestrian road use occurs during the summer months and given that the survey was conducted outside of this timeframe, we dispute the results. Also, the survey sites were not within the populated areas of the Albury Road where most of the more vulnerable road users tend to use the road.
The applicant concluding that the road network is able to accommodate the proposed construction traffic is misleading. Albury Parish Council has not at any stage been approached for their opinion on the impact of this proposal. Therefore, we have concluded that Albury residents’ safety and quality of life has been deemed an acceptable level of ‘collateral damage’, and that the parish was not worthy of direct consultation.
We OBJECT to this proposal based on the life-threatening risk to the residents of Albury Parish and anyone using the road through our parish.
The proposed route is wholly unsuitable for large construction vehicles, in particular at Gravesend and Clapgate. Agricultural vehicles already have significant difficulty navigating these narrow rural roads, not just tractors, but the numerous daily HGV vehicles delivering feeds etc, to the various farms on the route.
80% of the route has no footpaths and there are two bus stop areas in the road in Albury. The public using these bus stops (many of them school children) will be put at risk of serious injury or death by being in dangerously close proximity to large construction vehicles.
There are several listed and conservation buildings at Gravesend and Clapgate which will be placed at risk of damage. There are not sufficient passing places on the route to avoid daily congestion and safe passing, and cars parked on the route will also be placed at risk of damage.
This planning application based on ‘green’ credentials and how important this facility is for the push for ‘net zero’ within government directives, fails to observe the ecological damage that will result for the local area.
Therefore, we conclude Albury Parishes flora and fauna is also considered as acceptable ‘collateral damage’. Mature trees, established hedgerows and verges filled with cow slips and native plants are all disposable and any damage just an inconvenience – rather than an ecological disaster. The destruction of any habitat, but especially within the geographical scope of this facility is surely at complete odds with the rationale of this proposal.
There is no real benefit to the local or Albury community provided by this project, yet we will be significantly impacted by the noise, traffic and long-term unsightly appearance of this project.