SSE – Update & confirmation of visit 1st December

Further to the last Q&A with SSE, we have some additional information:

– SSE will set up some load monitoring to check that the new sub-station will have sufficient capacity for the village.

– SSE will install sound insulation inside the sub-station housing.

– SSE state that their equipment is safe and compliant with UK EMF levels.

– SSE is working towards a standard colour for sub-station housing and this likely to be green.

– SSE will “try to use the existing hedge line and foliage to screen the new housing”. They think it will be less intrusive than the existing pole mounted transformer.

– “As the works will primarily be carried out within the field to the east of Silver Lane, SEPD do not need to notify anyone of the works. Out of courtesy, SEPD will liaise and inform … the Parish Council of the works. SEPD will endeavour to minimise any damage to the hedge lines, but depending on the works, SEPD may need to trim or remove some parts of the hedge line through the works. SEPD will be monitoring contractors throughout the works.”

SSE has confirmed they will visit West Challow at 2pm Friday 1st December. This meeting is open to all villagers. So we can manage the meeting logistics, please let us know ( ) if you intend coming and if you have any specific points you want to raise or have clarified (that have not already been satisfactorily answered). We will then confirm location.

A reminder that this issue will be discussed at the WCPC meeting at 8pm, Wednesday 29th November in the Village Hall. All are welcome to attend.

Pub Night this Friday 7-10pm. Mulled Wine Special

Latest on SSEN response regarding electricity supply to West Challow

Attached are 2 documents that summarize the latest response to near term requests submitted to SSEN.

Both are in colour and have different colour texts.  The first differentiates in 3 colours between our initial request to SSEN, their response and our latest request to SSEN for further information including a meeting for all villagers and SSEN.  The second document is a summary of the SSEN views on EMF radiation and comparison with other household appliances.

Wine Tasting Cancelled. Pub Night instead

The Wine Tasting event on Friday 24th November is cancelled. Full refunds will be given.
Instead we will have a normal Pub Night, 7-10pm, including mulled wine.

Wine Tasting Tickets Final chance to buy Monday 20th November


Wine Tasting Tickets on sale.

Closing date to buy tickets is Monday 20th November


Wine Tasting Tickets on sale at Pub Night Friday 27th October 7 – 10pm


Update on West Challow’s Electricity Supply

Eoin and Jean Lees have sent the following update:

A meeting was held in West Challow on 8 September of Paul Barrow (District Councillor VWH), Ian Stern (Parish Councillor West Challow), Eoin and Jean Lees with Craig Goulding (Asset Manager of SSEN for all the Ridgeway area).  We thought it timely to update the village on our electricity supply as this was the first face to face, positive meeting that we have had with SSEN.

So far SSEN has stabilised the present West Challow distribution system by replacing the original 200kVA transformer with a temporary 315kVA unit and some rebalancing of the village distribution between the circuits that distribute electricity round the village.

For the future needs of the village, the following was agreed and later confirmed in an email from Craig Goulding on 10th October:

  • SSEN will repeat the early 2021 monitoring exercise of measuring the actual electricity usage on the 3 phases/wires from the 315 kVA transformer supplying electricity to the village
  • SSEN will replace the temporary 315kVA transformer which they agreed is on the limit regarding capacity given the foreseen conversion from the prevalent oil-fired to electrically driven heating and the adoption of EVs
  • This 315kVA will be replaced with a single 500 kVA transformer substation
  • The 500 kVA will be a standard power transformer for SSEN; it will be ground mounted with a wall height of ~6 feet and an apex sloping roof with peak height of 3 metres; screening by the existing vegetation should camouflage the substation
  • The 500 kVA transformer (if balanced between the 3 phases/wires) will allow a total of 652 amps supply to the village compared to the present 410 amps and the 260 amps in 2018
  • During a walk round the village, Craig confirmed that undergrounding of the high voltage lines on Manor Farm land would not be a technical problem. Craig also confirmed that with a 6 month lead time for the transformer, the whole project start is likely to be about a year away
  • SSEN had submitted a revised offer to the landlord for undergrounding power lines

On 11 October, we had a village WhatsApp from the land owner David Maundrell with the good news that agreement with SSEN on undergrounding of power lines had been reached.

All of the above is very encouraging although some important issues still remain:

  •  In Silver Lane, it was noticed that for properties north of Orchard Gardens, their telephone lines and low voltage electricity cables are mounted mostly on the same wooden pole. Craig said that, for safety reasons, it was not current practice to share poles with BT Open Reach. So by undergrounding these low voltage cables (230 volt), a problem remains as to how the telephone lines can still be connected to these properties
  • There is less clarity around sufficient capacity and the demand increase that would arise from the two recent and any future planning applications; SSEN’s repeat monitoring exercise should help here
  • Given the increasing demand pressure on the network and the fact that not all residents inform SSEN of plans for installing heat pumps and EV chargers, West Challow Parish Council believes that the Vale of White Horse planning process should formally check with SSEN for all new build planning applications, i.e. there should not be a threshold for the number of new builds on a development before checking and that SSEN should make the required checks to ensure capacity is available for organic and new build driven demand growth before replying.

After many years of negotiation, at last SSEN are responding positively with a ground mounted substation with increased capacity.  We were aware that the owners of the properties opposite any new substation were concerned about any potential visual impact and we would like to thank David Maundrell for ensuring that during the recent hedge trimming along the east side of Silver Lane, he retained the necessary camouflage for the new ground mounted transformer.


Parish Council Meeting Wednesday 25th October 2023

A Parish Council meeting will be held on Wednesday 25th October 2023 starting at 8:00pm in the Village Hall. An agenda is attached.WCPC Agenda 251023