Agenda item

Under Part 3 of the Council’s Scheme of Delegated Powers, Planning Committee clause (vii) the Assistant Director has taken the decision to refer this application to Members due to the wider public interest and the proposal is the first of its kind in Tendring.


The application relates to a parcel of land abutting the existing Lawford Grid Substation located to the south of Ardleigh Road / Little Bromley Road, Little Bromley. The application seeks full planning permission for the construction and operation of a 50MW Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) and related infrastructure with associated access, landscaping and drainage.


Councillor White had earlier on in the meeting declared an interest in this applicationdue to his previous connection with the National Grid.


It was reported that, under Part 3 of the Council’s Scheme of Delegated Powers, Planning Committee clause (vii) the Assistant Director (Planning) had taken the decision to refer this application to Members due to the wider public interest and given that the proposal was the first of its kind in the Tendring District. 


Members were informed that Ardleigh Parish Council and a number of local residents had raised concerns. The majority of those objections related to the development being linked to the East Anglia Green Energy Enablement project (East Anglia GREEN), highway safety and harm to residential amenities from noise and disturbance, together with harm to biodiversity and landscape impact.

The Committee was made aware that the application related to a parcel of land abutting the existing Lawford Grid Substation located to the south of Ardleigh Road / Little Bromley Road, Little Bromley. The application sought full planning permission for the construction and operation of a 50MW Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) and related infrastructure with associated access, landscaping and drainage.

Members were advised that a BESS was referred to by the National Grid as a ‘balancing service’ that will assist the operation of the grid in balancing electrical frequency at times of system stress. BESSs were able to provide flexible backup power to the grid at very short notice and respond rapidly to the short-term variations that were related to local and national energy demand and fluctuations in the output from renewable energy sources.

Concerns had been expressed with regard to the proposal’s relationship with the East Anglia GREEN project. This was a separate proposal by National Grid Electricity Transmission (National Grid) to reinforce the high voltage power network in East Anglia. That project would support the UK’s net zero target through the connection in East Anglia of new low carbon energy generation, and by reinforcing the local transmission network. The reinforcement would comprise mostly overhead lines (including pylons and conductors – the ‘line’ part) and underground cabling through the Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and a new 400 kV connection substation in the Tendring District.

It was reported that confirmation had been received from National Grid that this development proposal was not associated with the East Anglian GREEN project and was an independent third party applying to build a battery storage facility. This application had been submitted some time ago before the EAG proposals that had been consulted upon had been finalised.

Chapter 14 of the National Planning Policy Framework 2021 (NPPF) directed the planning system to meet the challenge of climate change, flooding and coastal change. Adopted Tendring District Local Plan 2013-2033 and Beyond (TDLP) Section 2 Policy PPL10 dealt with Renewable Energy Generation and Energy Efficiency Measures. Battery Storage Systems were identified within paragraph 7.9.3 of the supporting text of Policy PPL10 as one of the supported technologies aimed at maximising energy efficiency. Officers felt that the proposal was therefore acceptable in principle.

Members were advised that Essex County Council Highways Authority were satisfied that, through the imposition of appropriately worded planning conditions the development could be made acceptable in highway terms. Those conditions were to secure a revised Construction Management Plan; a Traffic Management Plan outlining a designated route to, and from, the development site for all HGV movements, and details of how any damage to the highway resulting from traffic movements generated by the application site would be repaired.

Furthermore, the application had been accompanied by appropriate technical reports including a Landscape Visual Impact Assessment, Noise Risk Assessment, Phase 1 Contaminated Land Report, Arboricultural Impact Assessment, Flood Risk Assessment and an Ecological Assessment, which had satisfactorily addressed the related material considerations.

In relation to the impact on residential amenities, the nearest dwelling is approximately 240 metres away and the development would not result in any noise or disturbance from operational use, as confirmed by the accompanying Noise Impact Assessment. Any noise, disturbance or disruption during construction could be managed through conditions and would be for a limited time only. Temporary disruption during construction was not a justifiable reason for refusal.

Officers were therefore satisfied that the proposal did not warrant refusal and that an acceptable development could be secured using conditions in line with Paragraph 55 of the NPPF.

The Committee had before it the published Officer report containing the key planning issues, relevant planning policies, planning history, any response from consultees, written representations received and a recommendation of approval.


At the meeting, an oral presentation was made by the Council’s Planning Officer (Amy Lang) in respect of the application.


An update sheet had been circulated to the Committee prior to the meeting with details of:

(1)  One additional objection received and summarised below:


-       No efforts made to enhance the existing infrastructure or amenities here.

-       Harm to area character of the area from pylons.




Notwithstanding the details contained within the accompanying Construction Traffic Management Plan (CTMP) REF: EPC/CTMP/451, prior to the commencement of any work on the site, including any ground works or demolition, a revised CTMP shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. The approved CTMP shall be adhered to by all ground works, construction and decommissioning traffic throughout the pre-construction, construction, and decommissioning phases. The approved plan shall be adhered to throughout the construction period. The Plan shall provide for but not be restricted to:


i. safe access to/from the site;

ii. the parking of vehicles of site operatives and visitors;

iii. the loading and unloading of plant and materials;

iv. the storage of plant and materials used in constructing the development;

v. wheel and underbody washing facilities.

vi. measures to control the emission of dust and dirt during demolition and construction;

vii. a scheme for recycling/disposing of waste resulting from construction works (no burning permitted;

viii. details of hours of deliveries relating to construction of the development;

ix. details of hours of all construction / workers traffic movements;

x. details of hours of site clearance or construction;

xi. Traffic Management Plan outlining a designated route to and from the development site for all HGV movements and any associated temporary traffic management measures together with a management plan for local road maintenance and repair resulting from the development;

xii. a scheme to control noise and vibration during construction, including details of any piling operations.

xiii. temporary road works entrance and exit/ construction traffic signage,

xiv. Provision of informal passing places,

xv. Swept path analysis drawings for the access and any restricted bends.


The approved CTMP shall be adhered to throughout the construction period for the development.


Reason - To ensure safe and controlled access, to ensure that on-street parking of these vehicles in the adjoining streets does not occur, to ensure that loose materials and spoil are not brought out onto the highway, to preserve the integrity and fabric of the highway, in the interests of highway safety and resident’s amenities.


(3) Additional information


Cambridge Power had issued a Members’ Briefing Note, circulated via email on 25 September 2022. Copy forwarded to the planning officers from Councillor Ann Wiggins and uploaded to the planning file today (27 September 2022).



Neil Waterson, acting on behalf of the applicant, spoke in support of the application.


Matters raised by Members of the Committee:-

Officer’s response thereto:-

In the Highways latest comments from May 2022 on page 23 it mentions to restrict deliveries between the hours of 9.30am – 3.30pm Mon-Fri and Saturdays 9.30am - Midday will that be amended subject to condition 8 on the update sheet?

Yes the approach with the conditions here is the fact that the HGV movements and strategy submitted with the application was considered unacceptable by the Highway Authority. So we have imposed a full revised condition for the traffic management plan which incorporates everything we need, all as one document including delivery and HGV movements. The reason that condition hasn’t been imposed directly into the conditions is to maintain that flexibility because if the revised HGV Strategy and routine plan alters the needs of those hours, we can address that as part of the discharge condition. However, as part of that discharge condition  Officers would go back and consider all of the original comments of the Highway Authority and make that the timings are incorporated into that new report. We would consult with Highway Authority again to double check that everything is within compliance of their recommendations from the original application.

There will be landscaping around these but how long will it take before we can’t see them?

So included in the application is 5 year illustrative plan and then also the fully established planting. *An image of the Illustrative elevations was shown* That would be in excess of the 5 years illustrative plan that has also been included. As mentioned the existing substation, now it is fully established with the planting around that it doesn’t have much of an impact. The google street view images allows you to see the landscape better, from the ground it would be very difficult for you to see what is behind that existing planting. So in the future once this is established that will have a very similar impact.

Can you confirm that this project is vital to the energy infrastructure for the residents of Tendring?

It forms part of our adopted local plan and that’s in line with NPPF. It is one of the first of its kind in this area so this is definitely something that complies with both national and local plan policy and something that we want to support. It will feed directly into the existing substation and will provide that back up in terms of stress and pressure. As it feed directly in to the existing substation it will have a direct benefit on the local energy supplies.

Is this a part of what will happen when electricity has superseded all fossil fuels?


Do we know what the batteries are made of?

Unfortunately we cannot answer that.

Are they recyclable?

In terms of recyclable we do not have this information available.

When they reach the end of their lifespan, they will automatically be replaced with other systems is it correct that they are a renewable thing?

Included in the application supporting documents it is clear there will be maintenance vehicles and personnel attending the site as and when to make sure that the batteries are operating as they should. There is a plan in place to ensure that it is maintained and continues to do as it’s aimed to do.

Can it be confirmed that this will be in place for 40 years and then the site will be returned to its original state?

Within the design and access statement submitted by the applicant there is a point that mentions that it is intended that the proposed development be temporary and would be in operation for a period of 40 years. Following this the proposed structure would be removed and the application site restored to its currently agricultural use. While we have no problem with that intention from the applicant’s point of view, 40 years is a long period of time so from a planning position we are treating this as a permanent application.

Could we ask the applicant the following question: The construction of the battery and it use?

The applicant on this occasion was allowed to answer this question: The batteries are made from Lithium Iron Phosphate. The lifespan is usually 10-15 years, they can run a bit longer but that depends on how they are used.

Is this new technology or has this been established over time?

Batteries are not a new technology, it is integrated components and it has been evolving. I think the use of batteries on a commercial scale with the efficiency needed to act in the way that they are now being proposed (to store electricity) in order to help the stabilisation of network should there be a power cut you have a backup store rather than a generator you have electricity stored in a battery instead. We are satisfied that they help efficiency of current technology and in terms of energy efficiency we are looking to support that on that basis. 

What plans are in place if one or more of these batteries set fire?

There is a safety note and procedure submitted with the application which talks through all of the training requirements for staff and attendance and what is needed should a fire break out. Firstly there is things in place to avoid that happening and that is all contained within that  safety note and report which forms part of the approved documents.



Following discussion by the Committee, it was moved by Councillor Harris, seconded by Councillor Alexander and RESOLVED that the Assistant Director (Planning) (or equivalent authorised officer) be authorised to grant planning permission for the development subject to the conditions as set out in Paragraph 8.2 of the related Officer (or as need to be varied in order to account for any errors, legal requirements or the update sheet) and those in addition that may be deemed necessary by the Assistant Director (Planning). 



Supporting documents: