Rejection of application for England's largest ground mounted solar farm
Blake Morgan's Planning Team have been successful in convincing a local planning authority to reject proposals in the Test Valley for what would have been England's largest ground mounted solar farm covering an area of 77ha.
The solar farm's generating capacity would have been 49MW, just 1 MW below the nationally significant infrastructure project threshold.
The proposals were refused on two grounds. Firstly, failure to undertake a robust sequential test establishing the rural site location was necessary and that the agricultural land was classified as poorer grade and, secondly, adverse impact on landscape character.
This is a significant result for the Planning Team especially in the current climate in which the Government's position is moving away from promoting large scale ground mounted rural schemes in preference for brownfield and commercial/residential rooftop generation. This can be seen in the Government's recent consultation, "Technical consultation on planning, July 2014" which is seeking to extend permitted development rights for solar on commercial premises.
Over the last year Sara Hanrahan and Keith Lancaster have advised local objectors throughout the determination process. This has involved organising professional reports to object to the proposals and amended proposals, advising on two planning committee meetings, speaking at the second meeting which was held because the first decision recommended approval against officer recommendation, advising on call-in procedures and instructing Mark Lowe QC of Cornerstone Barristers.