Limited lifespan for solar farm found irrelevant

The secretary of state has dismissed plans to extend a solar park in Kent after finding that it would be inappropriate development of the green belt, harmful to landscape character and heritage assets and wasteful of best and most versatile agricultural land.

200-004-381 (Image Credit: Tunbridge Wells Borough Council)
200-004-381 (Image Credit: Tunbridge Wells Borough Council)

The secretary of state agreed with the inspector that the 9ha extension of a previously permitted solar park belt would constitute inappropriate development and fail preserve green belt openness. He found that the park would harm a lowland vale’s landscape character and a nearby listed building, affect the countryside setting of a nearby village and result in underuse of grade 3a farmland used as orchards, contrary to national policy and guidance.

He disagreed with the inspector that the scheme’s reversibility was a relevant matter. He took the view that its 25-year lifespan would be a considerable period of time and its reversibility of was not a matter he could take into consideration.

Inspector: John Woolcock; Written representations

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