Tuesday 16 July 2024
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Solar farm plans refused by council

A Nottinghamshire council has thrown out plans to create a countryside solar farm capable of powering 2,200 homes.

Hamilton Solar Ltd had put forward plans for 23-acre land off Hamilton Way and Cauldwell Road, between Sutton and Mansfield to be used to create a renewable energy source for thousands of local residents.

Documents published by the company confirmed three ‘small-to-medium sized’ agricultural fields would be used to house the solar farm.

It said the land was chosen due to its links with a nearby electricity substation and because it’s near a large industrial estate, which would allow the industrial units to “benefit from the zero-carbon power generated by the park”.

However, Ashfield District Council has refused the company’s application over concerns about its impact on the countryside.

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The authority said the plans were an “uncharacteristic intrusion” into green space and raised concerns about the impact on a nearby historical monument.

A notice issued on the plan this month refused the company’s request for planning permission.

The council said: “The proposal would result in substantial, demonstrable harm to the significance of a designated heritage asset through inappropriate development within its setting.

“[This would] further compromise the important surviving rural landscape of the scheduled ancient monument.

“The wider public benefits associated with the development are considered not to outweigh the substantial harm deriving from the proposal.

“It has not been suitably demonstrated there are no other available sites within the district which may be more appropriate to accommodate such a development to avoid this level of harm.

“[The proposal] would be an uncharacteristic intrusion into the open countryside through a substantial development.”

When submitting the plans earlier this summer, the company said areas around the farm would be available for farming use.

This included sheep being able to graze nearby fields throughout the solar farm’s proposed 30-year lifespan.

The company had proposed leasing the land for this 30-year period, alongside an additional two years to create and dismantle the solar farm.

It would then have been decommissioned and converted back into its current condition.

In statements submitted to the council, the applicant said: “The proposed solar farm will use solar panels fixed to the ground using metal pipes and supporting infrastructure.

“This translates into the generation of approximately 8.01 Gigawatt hours of clean renewable energy each year, which will be supplied to nearby homes, industrial units and businesses via a connection to the local electricity grid.

“This will be enough to power in excess of around 2,200 homes.

“The site will also be designed to enable continued agriculture in the form of grazing of small animals such as sheep, while also considerably enhancing biodiversity.”

Had the council approved the plans, the farm would have been accessed via Hamilton Road using an existing access point.

Nottinghamshire County Council, the local highways authority, raised no objections to the plans and said the impact on traffic would be “negligible”.

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