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Clark blocks Cambridgeshire solar farm projects

Published: Thursday, 23rd June 2016

Two solar farm developments for the same site are refused on appeal, in both cases Clark concluded the solar farms would represent inappropriate development in a green belt location…

Communities Secretary Greg Clark has dismissed appeals for alternative solar power farms earmarked for a site in Cambridgeshire. The proposals were originally refused by South Cambridgeshire District Council. The inspector who held the recovered inquiries had also recommended the two projects, for a 28 megawatt and a 14 megawatt scheme, should be rejected.

Both appeals relate to the same site which is a single large L-shaped field of some 49-hectares of arable land. The field lies to the north of the village of Sawston. The shorter but fatter eastern arm abuts the Dales Manor Business Park and runs for about 700 metres in a northerly direction towards the River Granta.

The western arm follows the line of the river for about 1.1 kilometres and is separated from the village by a strip of land occupied by a house, North Farm, and its substantial grounds. For appeal A the solar panels would cover the whole site. In appeal B they would cover a reduced area of 16-hectares utilising the western arm.

In both cases Clark agreed with the inspector that the solar farms would represent inappropriate development in a green belt location and would have significant adverse landscape and visual effects contrary to both local and national planning policies. He also concluded the loss of farm land classified as best and most versatile (BMV) could not be justified.

View more information for the recovered appeal: land north of Dales Manor Business Park, West Way, Sawston

Roger Milne