Solar farm plans are given the axe by planning inspector

PUBLISHED: 09:00 01 April 2017

The solar farm could be built in Axbridge.

The solar farm could be built in Axbridge.

Archant

A renewable energy scheme which would have generated enough electricity to power the whole of Axbridge has been dismissed by a planning inspector.

Townsend Farm Limited wanted to build a 140,000sqm solar farm – which is the same size as almost 20 football pitches – at Townsend Farm in Axbridge, and had submitted a planning application to Sedgemoor District Council in 2015.

After the council refused planning permission, the business lodged an appeal, although that too has now been dismissed by an independent planning inspector.

The solar farm would have generated enough electricity to serve around 1,020 homes.

Axbridge Town Council said it was against the plans and said the solar farm would have a ‘significant impact’ on the landscape.

A council spokesman said: “The planning inspector agreed the benefits associated with the development would be clearly outweighed by the harm to character and appearance of the surrounding area.

“The farm would have harmed the enjoyment of the views across the site from the Mendip Hills to the north, which is one of the special qualities of the Mendip Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).”

Sedgemoor councillor for Axbridge Liz Scott said she was ‘all for renewable energy’ but she agreed the development would have a ‘big impact’ on the environment.

Cheddar Parish Council were also against the solar farm, which would have been built between the village and Axbridge.

Planning committee chairman Paul Fineran said: “The benefits the application could have offered were overshadowed by the impact on the environment and AONB.”

Mr Fineran said the council were also against the farm because there was no ‘demonstrable need’, especially with Hinkley Point C being developed.


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