On 11th May I received an e-mail from the Planning Inspectorate about the proposed Aquind Interconnector Cable that will come ashore at Eastney and run all the way up the eastern side of Portsmouth.
Originally the scrutiny of the application for this cable to be laid was supposed to be started by the Planning Inspectorate on 22nd April with a Preliminary Meeting, but this has been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the meeting was postponed.
The Planning Inspectorate is responsible for this planning application as Government Ministers have taken away decision-making powers from Portsmouth City Council for this project.
The e-mail makes it clear that the Planning Inspectorate is pushing on with this application being considered despite there not being the ability to hold public meetings or gatherings at the moment. Instead, they are looking to scrutinise remotely only via phone, or online.
I don't consider that this is good enough and will feedback to them that scrutiny of this planning application should not begin until the COVID-19 lockdown is over as it will have such a huge impact on people in Eastney, Southsea and beyond in Portsmouth, some of whom will be excluded with a lack of public meetings.
Your Portsmouth Liberal Democrat administration has been leading the City Council's opposition to the Aquind Interconnector Cable with cross-party support and co-ordinating with Havant, East Hampshire & Winchester Councils (that the cable is also planned to go through) to try to block it.
Kimberly Barrett - Milton community campaigner responded to Cllr Winnington's update "worried residents in Milton will appreciate this update. With everything else going on at the moment I’m pleased we can report that work continues to challenge the disruptive plans Acquind have suggested that tear a swathe through our community"
Councillor Darren Sanders (Baffins) also joined concerns "The proposed plans will cause immense disruption for people in our city and those coming here to work. They make no recognition that Portsmouth is an island with major congestion and air pollution problems and is the most densely populated part of Britain outside London."
Councillor Lynne Stagg (Baffins) added "These plans will close part of the Eastern Road - one of only three roads into the city - and cause major disruption on it for 18 months. That will cause chaos on our roads, disrupt our businesses and residents and do nothing to cut air pollution. They must be stopped."
We will continue to work for all the residents of Eastney & Craneswater, Milton & Baffins to try to stop this project that will bring maximum disruption to the lives of so many in our City for no benefit to Portsmouth at all.
Cllr Matthew Winnington
Liberal Democrat Councillor for Eastney & Craneswater
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