Sunday, April 03, 2011


Following the public meeting at Holy Trinity Church on Wednesday evening, we thought it would be helpful, as your local Councillors, to write and set out how we understand the decision on the Helius power station will be taken, and most importantly WHAT WE ALL CAN DO TO STOP IT. Since the meeting we have spoken with the Infrastructure Planning Commission, the Department for Energy and Climate Change and the City Council to confirm some of these key facts.

Who makes the decision and how does the process work?

The current situation is that the decision is taken by the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC), a body set up by the last government to make big decisions of the this nature.

The City Council is not the decision maker but will submit its comments to the IPC along with local residents and councillors. It is likely that if Helius do decide to push ahead with their scheme that the final decision will not be made for another year or more.

There are a number of different stages and points where people can object to the application:

Pre Application Stage – this is the stage we are in now and anyone can comment to Helius on their proposals. It also makes sense to send your comments to Southampton City Council and IPC.

Application Stage – Helius makes a formal application to the IPC.

Acceptance Stage – The IPC has 28 days to decide to accept the application or not. One factor that may mean that the application is not accepted is if the public consultation has been inadequate.

Pre Examination Stage – we can all comment on the scheme. First you must register by filling in a form. This then allows you to make a comment. This stage normally takes 3 months. Anyone who registers will be invited to a preliminary IPC meeting.

Examination Stage – anyone who registered in the Pre Examination Stage is invited to submit their detailed comments in writing and they may also get the chance to speak at IPC meetings in Southampton. This stage can take up to 6 months.

Decision Stage – a decision is made and reasons given – this could take up to 3 months

Post Decision Stage – there are 6 weeks to appeal. Appeals take the form of a Judicial Review.

The Localism Bill

Many people are rightly upset that the last government placed the decision with an unelected, unaccountable body, taking it out of the democratic process.

The new Coalition government is changing the process and is in the process of passing a new law called the Localism Bill. If this law is enacted before the decision on the Helius scheme, then the decision will be referred to Chris Huhne, the Secretary of State, for his decision.

When can we object?

There are 2 immediate deadlines when people must get their comments in by.

1. The closing date for objection to Helius at the current Pre Application Stage is 21st April. Please make sure that you get your comments to Helius by then and we also suggest that you copy your correspondence to the City Council and the IPC for good measure.

2. The closing date for comments to the City council so that they can be taken into account by the council’s planning panel is 28th April. If you get your comments in by then they will be put before the panel on their meeting on 24th May and this will help the panel with its response to Helius, at this first Pre Application Stage.

What are the contact details we need?

IPC Contact Details

Tel: 0303 4445000


Post: IPC, Temple Quay House, Temple Quay, Bristol, BS1 6PN


Helius Contact Details

Post: Helius Energy plc, 242 Marylebone Road, London NW1 6JL


City Council Contact Details

Steve Harrison, Planning Officer Team Leader

Tel: 023 8091 7568.


Post: Southampton City Council Civic Centre Southampton SO14 7LS

As your local Councillors we are doing everything we can to fight this monstrous scheme. Please contact us if you need our help or have any questions for us. We will support the community every step of the way.


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