20th Oct, 2016

Controversial solar farm plan put on hold

Evesham Editorial 21st Aug, 2014 Updated: 12 hours ago

THE CONSTRUCTION of a 120-acre solar farm in Wickhamford has been put on hold so the potential impact on the landscape can be looked at.

Proposals to build the 48 hectare site off Longdon Hill were deferred by Wychavon District Council’s planning committee last Thursday (August 14) as members highlighted issues with the scale of the development.

It also came with the condition for councillors to visit the land it will be built on and to also view a similar solar farm to see how it has affected the area.

The 21 megawatt farm would include blue and black panels with a maximum height of 2.5 metres arranged in parallel rows, a two metre high fence around the site, supply 5,000 homes with electricity and save 11,000 tonnes of carbon every year.

However members of the planning committee were worried about the scale of the development and the visual pollution it could create.

Coun Adrian Darby said: “This is a very large site and something which is going to be very visible from the north of Broadway all the way round to Bredon Hill.

“I don’t see how we can possibly pass this until we have consulted the Government’s official authority on the AONB (area of outstanding national beauty).

“The only comments I have had indirectly about this seem to be pretty hostile. We certainly shouldn’t pass it at this stage and we should defer it until we have the chance to consult the officer on the AONB.”

Coun Linda Robinson, chairman of the district council, agreed with Coun Darby and said without further visits and information the committee would be ‘in the dark’ over the decision.

“We recently considered a solar farm and approved that but I did ask at the time should there be subsequent applications we would like to see one,” she said.

“I went to the open day at Willersey and that was quite an eye-opener and that is something I would like the committee to be able to do.

“We’re rather searching in the dark here about whether we think these things are appropriate or not and that’s not really how we consider planning.”

A total of 12 members deferred proposals, with two abstentions and one voted against.