Solar farm bid wins approval

Solar farm plan: Picture for illustration only

Solar farm plan: Picture for illustration only - Credit: Archant

An ‘industrial scale’ solar farm outside West Hill has been given the go-ahead by district council planning bosses.

The 55-acre project at Great Houndbeare Farm was approved by members of the development management committee, despite strong objection from councillors Tony Howard and Claire Wright.

The project will span five fields at the farm which sits between West Hill and Aylesbeare. Councillor Howard said that approving the development would cross a ‘red line’ for solar farm applications in East Devon.

He also raised concerns about the impact glare from the panels could have on aircraft landing at Exeter airport.

A statement from the airport suggested there could be a safety issue, but a council legal expert warned that because they had not made an express objection, refusing the plans on air safety grounds could result in a costly appeal.

Councillor Wright said she was unhappy with the ‘sheer size and scale’ of the application, which she likened to an ‘industrial development’, and the loss of so much productive agricultural land.

But the committee voted seven to four in favour of the plans.