Clark dismisses Surrey green belt solar farm appeal

Communities secretary Greg Clark has refused permission for a 32.5 hectare solar park in Surrey, ruling that the benefits of the scheme do not clearly outweigh the harm to the green belt.

Solar farm: appeal dismissed by communities secretary (picture by Solar Trade Association/BELECTRIC UK)
Solar farm: appeal dismissed by communities secretary (picture by Solar Trade Association/BELECTRIC UK)

Appellant Mynthurst Farms Limited had appealed against Mole Valley District Council’s decision to refuse permission in June 2014 for the proposed 13.5MW solar farm, located on around 32 hectares of largely undeveloped green belt countryside between the settlements of Leigh and Charlwood.

In refusing the application, which sought permission for a control room, fencing, landscaping and other associated works as well as solar panels, Clark agreed with the conclusions of inspector Phillip Ware, who recommended that the appeal be dismissed.

Clark’s decision letter noted that the appeal proposal would not be in accordance with the development plan.

It said that he agreed with the inspector that the proposal would be an inappropriate development in the green belt, "that it would harm the openness of the green belt, and conflict with one of the purposes of designating the green belt. He agrees that this weighs heavily against the proposal".

The decision letter concluded: "Overall, the secretary of state agrees with the inspector that the benefits of the scheme do not clearly outweigh the harm to the green belt and the landscape and visual amenity of the area and that very special circumstances do not exist to justify allowing the inappropriate development. 

"He also concludes that there are no material considerations sufficient to overcome the conflict he has identified with the development plan."


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