Javid blocks Surrey green belt solar farm

The communities secretary has refused plans for a 5.25MW solar farm on a 10-hectare site within the Surrey green belt after he agreed with an inspector that 'very special circumstances' did not exist to justify the development.

Solar: Surrey scheme refused
Solar: Surrey scheme refused

Tandridge District Council had refused INRG Solar’s plans for the scheme at a Smallfield, close to Gatwick Airport, on grounds including that it would be inappropriate development within the green belt.

Following an appeal, a planning inspector came down on the side of the council, and a decision letter issued on behalf of the communities secretary Sajid Javid this week said he agreed with this conclusion.

The letter said that Javid agreed with the inspector that the proposal "would be inappropriate development in the green belt, would result in a loss of openness and would have an adverse effect on the appearance of the surrounding area".

It said that factors in the scheme’s favour included the provision of renewable energy and some biodiversity and economic benefits.

But it added that "substantial weight should be given to green belt harm and other harm".

The letter concluded that Javid found that, "while there would be significant benefits, the secretary of state agrees that these do not clearly outweigh the harm to the green belt by reason of inappropriateness, and any other harm, and the very special circumstances necessary to justify the development do not exist."

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