19.7-hectare solar farm blocked by inspector

An inspector has dismissed an appeal against a north Devon council's decision to refuse permission for a 19.7-hectare solar farm, ruling that the proposals would have a 'significant adverse effect on the character and appearance of the countryside'.

Solar farm: appeal dismissed
Solar farm: appeal dismissed

Torridge District Council refused permission for appellant Solar Securities Group’s proposed 43,512-panel solar farm with a capacity of 10.2MW on land at West Venn Farm, Beaworthy, in November 2013.

In a decision note issued last week, inspector Bern Hellier dismissed Solar Securities Group’s appeal.

In the decision note, the inspector said that the "relatively large-scale scheme … would make a valuable contribution to cutting greenhouse gas emissions and which should attract substantial weight".

But the decision note said that, set aside this, there would be a "significant adverse effect on the character and appearance of the countryside".

The note added that the proposals would have "some additional cumulative effect" when seen in association with a nearby wind turbine, and would cause "further limited harm" to the setting of a nearby Grade II-listed building "to which should be attached considerable importance and weight".

The inspector’s note said that the government’s planning practice guidance "confirms that protecting local amenity is an important consideration in making planning decisions on renewable energy schemes".

"I do not consider the harm to what is a valued local landscape would be acceptable or could be made acceptable," the inspector concluded.

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