Solar park plan for North Tamerton is turned down
A SCHEME to build a 40-acre solar farm on the Cornwall-Devon border has been refused permission because there are already too many renewable energy schemes nearby.
The application by Dutch firm Kronas Solar to place a solar park at Woodlands Farm, North Tamerton, between Bude and Holsworthy, had been deferred by Cornwall Council's strategic planning committee from its previous meeting in November.
This was to allow time for the preparation of maps showing the cumulative effects of other renewable energy developments on both sides of the county boundary.
These were presented to members at the committee, meeting at County Hall in Truro – but did not change the officers' original recommendation to approve the scheme.
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However, after hearing from local objectors, as well as from Alexander Arcache for the company, the committee voted 15-6 to refuse the application.
The countryside around the site is designated as an Area of Great Landscape Value (AGLV) and the scheme would be seen both on its own and with other solar developments, the committee heard.
"Given the limited prominence of this site in the landscape it is not considered that, on its own, or in accumulation with other installations, visual impacts would be significant," said the officers' planning report ahead of the meeting.
"The positive contribution of the scheme to the provision of renewable energy and farm diversification has been considered to outweigh, in this instance, the relatively limited negative environmental impacts," said the report in its recommendation for approval.
However, Cornwall councillor Nicky Chopak said the impact on the AGLV outweighed the contribution to renewable energy.
When she had visited the site she saw cattle grazing on the land and this could not happen if there was a solar farm there.
"North Tamerton has had enough in terms of solar panels and wind turbines," she said.
Objector Sarah-Jane Stephens said there was concern in the community that the cumulative effect had become too great.
"Already, 10 per cent of the agricultural land in North Tamerton is given over to renewable energy. This land should remain in agricultural use," she said.
However, Mr Arcache, for Kronas Solar, said this site was on lowest grade farmland and there were no logical grounds for refusal.
But the committee disagreed and said it would impact on the landscape, both on its own and alongside other nearby renewable energy schemes.