PLANS for a controversial £500m power transfer plant which will revolutionise electrical supply across Hampshire has been given the go ahead.

National Grid is planning a major new energy infrastructure project, known as IFA2, which links the UK national grid to France at Daedalus airfield near Fareham.

Following the decision yesterday, a spokesperson from National Grid said: “We are delighted that Fareham Borough Council has resolved to grant planning permission for the detailed ?designs for IFA2. Our focus now will remain on ensuring that IFA2 can coexist harmoniously with the local community and neighbouring businesses.”

Under the approved plans, the proposed converter site in Fareham would receive electricity from the French grid as direct current and would convert it to alternating current, which is used domestically in the UK and France.

This energy would then be transferred to a substation at Chilling, near Warsash, which would connect to the National Grid supply.

However the decision has been slammed by councillors and residents groups.

Stubbington councillor Carolyn Heneghan said she was ‘disgusted’ by the decision.

She said: “Its an unnecessary large building that is taking up ten acres of land which could be used for commercial purposes.”

Bill Hutchinson, chair of the Hillhead Residents Association said the decision was ‘disappointing’ and added: “The planned building is too large and should go to the former Fawley power station site which has ample space.

“Although, National Grid have worked hard to address the technical elements of the project, the council have short circuited the planning system because the plans did not go before an independent planning inspector.”

While the planning committee have given final approval for the project the project will be formally approved by the council as the landlord next month.

Councillor Sean Woodward, leader of Fareham Borough Council said: "The granting of planning consent is an important milestone for the project but, as I have always said, the most important issue is the granting or not of landlord's consent and the Executive will be considering a relevant report on 4th December.

"Irrespective of the planning consent the final decision on whether the project goes ahead falls to the Council as landlord and it is in that role that we are able to ensure, if we support the project,  that many safeguards over and above those the Planning Committee can impose are in place.

"These would relate to airport operations, the wellbeing of local residents and the Solent Enterprise Zone."