Published: Thursday, 26th May 2016
Communities Secretary dismisses appeals for two solar farms as neither demonstrated the very special circumstances needed to justify development in the green belt...
Communities Secretary Greg Clark has dismissed appeals for two separate solar farms, each proposed for green belt locations, one in Worcestershire and the other in Essex. In both cases the planning inspectors who held the recovered appeal inquires had recommended that the projects should be refused.
The Worcestershire project involved an 8.9 megawatt solar farm scheme on a single site straddling the boundary between Wychavon District Council and Bromsgrove District Council. Both planning authorities had rejected the project.
In his decision letter Greg stressed that the project represented inappropriate development in the green belt which would cause “harm to the landscape character and visual amenities of the area and to the setting and significance of listed buildings”.
He concluded that the very special circumstances needed to justify the development in the green belt had not been demonstrated.
In respect of the other scheme, a five megawatt solar power facility proposed for a farm at Hutton, Essex refused by Brentwood Borough Council, the Secretary of State placed substantial weight on the “harm that would arise to the green belt by way of inappropriateness, loss of openness and the encroachment into the countryside”.
Clark, again, concluded that the very special circumstances necessary to justify the development in green belt did not exist.