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Windfarm cable plans cause concern for archaeological site in Reepham

People in Reepham are concerned the laying of cables for new offshore wind farms could cause irreversible damage to an archaeological site close to the town.

The cable corridor for Vattenfall’s Norfolk Vanguard and Boreas projects is planned to run close to the remains of St Mary’s Chapel in Kerdiston, which was discovered in 2014 by local archaeologists.

Evidence of a bell tower at the site indicates that it was a church of some importance and likely had a graveyard.

It is believed to have belonged to the de Kerdiston family whose tomb is presently being conserved to prevent further deterioration at St Mary’s Church in Reepham.

Reepham Town Council has written to Vattenfall stating the cable corridor’s proximity to the site and the possible associated movement of heavy vehicles “could damage the fragile remains of the church and its possible graveyard.”

However, they also noted that: “The work associated with the cable could of course provide an opportunity for a geophysical survey and if necessary an excavation which would provide valuable information about the church.”

Ruari Lean, Vattenfall’s project manager for Norfolk Vanguard, said: “Talking extensively with interested parties helps us minimise the impact of our proposals, and find opportunities to develop local benefits too, so we would welcome an opportunity to work with Reepham Town Council in addition to Norfolk County Council and Historic England on the well-known St Mary’s Chapel site.”

Over the next five to ten years Reepham is to become the main crossover point for cabling that connects three of the UK’s biggest offshore windfarms from Vattenfall and Dong Energy to their respective onshore substations located in Necton and Norwich.

A spokesperson from Dong Energy said: “We speak regularly with Vattenfall to ensure that our operations are aligned and as companies with a shared goal of generating clean energy for the UK, we have a good working relationship with them.

“We are holding our third series of community consultation events in September this year and will once again be visiting Reepham to ensure the community is aware of our proposals and has a chance to comment.”