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Proposed windfarm power cable poses ‘existential threat’ to charity

A Suffolk disability charity has warned installing a cable to connect a proposed offshore windfarm to the mainland could force it to close.

The Warden’s Trust, based between Sizewell and Thorpeness, is a cliffside retreat for children and adults that is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.

Dr Alexander Gimson, chair of trustees, said the resort’s key selling point is its idyllic location.

However, Dr Gimson fears ScottishPower’s proposal to lay a cable between a windfarm in the North Sea and the land could put people off visiting and cut the charity’s income.

ScottishPower has said it will consider the community’s response to plans for the East Anglia One North and East Anglia Two projects and will “minimise” any impact on the Warden’s Trust.

Dr Gimson said: “We’re strongly in favour of renewable energy. Our issue is how the cable will come ashore.

“The difficulty is that this is an area of outstanding natural beauty. It’s a complex process.

“We believe having this cable corridor will be an existential threat to our charity.

“People come to us because of our rural location. We rely very much on personal philanthropy and grants. But if people do not come, the charity closes.

“What we are proposing is that we need to think where the wind farm will link up.”

A spokesman for ScottishPower said: “We take pride in being a responsible developer and neighbour and continue to work closely with ­- and listen to – local people and stakeholders regarding our East Anglia Two and One North offshore windfarm projects.

“Following feedback on the proposed onshore cable route from the Warden’s Trust and local residents, we’re proposing changes to increase the distance from the boundary of the trust’s property as much as possible while maintaining an appropriate distance around the Sandlings Special Protection Area, a European protected site.

“We believe this offers the best possible solution to minimise any potential impact on the charity, which provides a vital support service for people and families, while addressing environmental considerations.

“We’ve advised those likely to be affected by the suggested changes, and the proposals will be considered as part of the ongoing Planning Inspectorate examinations.”