Developer appeals against 'unjustified' solar farm decision

PUBLISHED: 07:00 15 January 2016

Archant

An appeal has been lodged by a prospective solar farm developer, after planners rejected its bid to build on farmland in Axbridge.

Solar panels 1Solar panels 1

Sedgemoor District Council refused to grant planning permission for the developer to build a 140,000sqm solar site at Townsend Farm.

The firm behind the proposal, Townsend Farm Limited, has now appealed the decision.

Peter Grubb, director at Savills Planning and agent for the developer, said: “An appeal has been lodged against the decision of Sedgemoor District Council to refuse consent for the solar farm on the basis that we wish to question the decision, believing it is unjustified.”

The council’s planning officer refused to grant permission on the grounds the proposal would have an adverse impact on the Mendip Hills and Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

But Mr Grubb said: “This scheme will generate enough to power Axbridge and will be no higher than the hedgerows.

“It will make no movement or noise and will not affect its neighbours in any way.

“It will be subject to business rates, and as such a significant income can be derived by the district council to be cascaded into local council services.

“In this case, a formal community benefit fund has been offered directly to Axbridge Town Council of £10,000 for use in community ‘green’ projects.”

Axbridge’s town councillors objected to the scheme over fears of its visual impact on the landscape and affect on wildlife.

Cheddar Parish Council and Compton Bishop Parish Council both also objected, while the application prompted 89 comments from the public.

Mr Grubb added: “The green energy produced will be connected 
to the local grid and will help to provide homegrown green energy at a time where the UK is largely at the mercy of imported energy from foreign markets, which are expected to continue to raise wholesale prices.”

No appeal date has yet been set.

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