Planners to visit solar farm site

10:00 20 May 2014

sub

An application for a 30-acre solar farm outside Sidbury is hanging in the balance after district council planners agreed to visit the site before making a final decision.

The application by energy firm Lumicity Ltd would see 28,800 panels installed at land on East Hill Strips.

Planning officers had recommended the application be refused because of the impact the site would have on land designated as an area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB).

Lumicity are proposing to screen the site by planting extra hedgerows, and several members of East Devon District Council’s planning committee felt this would be sufficient to conceal the panels when they considered the application last week. Councillor Chris Wale, district representative for Sidmouth Rural, urged the committee to look at the proposal with ‘a very open mind’.

He added: “We have had a lot of support for this and [Lumicity] are working hard to achieve minimum impact.”

Cllr Martin Gammell, who said he had consistently voted against applications for solar farms in the ANOB, felt there was merit in the East Hill application.

“This is an excellent use of poor quality land,” he said. “If you can’t see it, then it is not there.”

But some members disagreed, insisting that the site would still be visible despite the screening attempts.

Cllr David Key said: “I have looked across that valley, and I can see that field plain as plain. There’s no way I can go with approval.”

Cllr Geoff Pook shared a similar view, saying the hedges were essentially just ‘applying makeup’ to what he described as an ‘industrialisation’ of the AONB.

Cllr Howe likened the plans to ‘putting lipstick on a pig’.

“You are trying to artificially screen something that shouldn’t be there,” he added.

A proposal on whether to carry out a inspection was tied, so the final say rested with chair Cllr Helen Parr who voted in favour visiting the site.

If built, the solar farm would provide enough energy to power some 1,680 homes and save around 31,000 tonnes of CO2 each year.

0 comments

Comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Sidmouth Herald visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Sidmouth Herald staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Sidmouth Herald account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Other News Stories

Thu, 13:19
Mary King greeted with Herald in California

Olympic silver medallist Mary King was met with a familiar sight in the Californian heat on a recent trip to America - as she was greeted with a copy of the Sidmouth Herald.

Read more
Wed, 16:49
Jonathan Marshall

A celebrity falconer’s media career is in ruins after he forged an animal passport for his Golden Eagle so he could appear on the ITV Alan Titchmarsh show.

Read more
Wed, 13:18
Head teacher of Newton Poppleford Primary School, Stuart Vaughan. Ref shs 3049-50-14AW. Picture: Alex Walton.

The £2.5million rebuild of Newton Poppleford Primary School will be good for the pupils and the community as a whole, according to its headteacher.

Read more
Wed, 10:11
Money

Small-scale developers will no longer have to compensate communities for the extra pressure their new homes will place on schools and leisure facilities, under new rules announced by central government.

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 9°C

min temp: 7°C

Most Read News

Photo Orders
Competitions
Subscriptions
Facebook
Family notices

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Sidmouth Herald e-edition today E-edition
Devon�s trusted business finder