WINCHESTER City Council has argued that a £1.1bn scheme to bring an electricity connection between England and France “brings no positive benefits to the local community”.

Aquind Ltd is planning to create a privately funded electricity link between Lovedean and Normandy, in France.

The 148-mile cable will provide a two-gigawatt capacity electricity connection through which energy can be imported or exported.

Whilst the landfall for the undersea cables will be Eastney on Portsea Island, the cables will continue underground for a distance of some 18km as they run northward towards the Lovedean substation which lies west of Horndean and north of Denmead in the Winchester council district.

The substation will be a point where the connection can be to the national grid and a new facility will be built which will convert the electricity current from Alternating Current (AC) to Direct Current (DC) depending on whether the power is being imported or exported.

Over the past 18 months the company has been going through the pre-application stage but has submitted the plan for a development consent order (DCO), this is not a planning permission but a separate legal statutory instrument.

And at a meeting of the council’s cabinet details of the authority’s response to the project was put before members.

The report stated: “Over the past 18 months officers have meet Aquind and their consultants on multiple occasions to discuss general matters and the design principles regarding the proposed building. Some progress has been made but it is also evident that on other matters there continues to be a divergence of views. With the encouragement for ongoing discussions with the applicant, the potential for some movement in the councils position does exist.

“Fundamentally, whilst noting the policy context as outlined above, notwithstanding all the measures in terms of landscaping and design principles that will be adopted, the proposal will result in a building of significant size and scale that will be visible in the surrounding area,” it continued.

“It will be located in the open countryside in close proximity to the South Downs National Park boundary. Accordingly, WCC must have a major concern regarding the presence of the building. This concern is exacerbated when it is clear that the scheme brings no positive benefits to the local community.”

The response was approved and councillors agreed to continue talks between Denmead, Hambledon, Newlands parish councils, along with ward members.