Devon CPRE celebrates decision
Plans for a large solar farm on agricultural land in East Devon have been refused following a meeting by local councillors.
Devon CPRE, the Devon branch of the countryside charity, is today celebrating the news which followed a site visit by councillors.
They found the proposed construction area was waterlogged following recent rain which campaigners said was a reason for the site at Marsh Green being unsuitable for such a development.
Taking flooding and other factors into account, namely concerns over visual impact, land classification and impact on a designated heritage asset, East Devon’s planning committee voted against their own officer’s recommendation.
‘We’d like to thank the councillors who voted to refuse it for having the courage of their convictions for supporting the local community and for standing up for Devon’s countryside,’ said Penny Mills, Devon CPRE Director.
‘We are all incredibly grateful, particularly coming so soon after the disappointing decision by the Secretary of State to permit the Langford solar farm, near Cullompton, on appeal.’
‘We hope East Devon District Council shows the same resolve should the applicant in this case decide to appeal.”
‘There are currently another two solar farm applications in planning in East Devon and who knows how many more in the pipeline? It’s encouraging that this one at least has been turned down for the right reasons.’
‘Food security is paramount’
‘It’s the right decision,’ said local resident Cyril Emmett who has farmed at nearby Rockbeare for 50 years.
‘A soil assessment carried out by independent consultants challenged the applicant’s claim that the proposed site was low-grade agricultural land.’
‘The assessment I commissioned concluded that the applicant’s report was incorrect and should not be relied upon. I’m not totally against solar but panels should be put on rooftops.’
‘If there were panels on every roof in the new town of Cranbrook, there would be no need to sacrifice productive farmland for such developments. Food security is paramount.’
‘A big thank you to the committee members who voted for the refusal,’ said Ron Forrest, Vice Chair of Rockbeare Parish Council.
‘It was a common sense decision based on the evidence before them and the site visit. Hopefully, Marsh Green will not now be destroyed by a development of that size.’
‘We are delighted that the planning committee has listened carefully to the objections from local residents and members of the public and seen sense. Our campaign against the scheme will continue as we are well aware that the developer may appeal,’ explained Paul Jefferson, Chairman of Marsh Green Valley Protection Group.
Image shows protestors at Marsh Green with Devon CPRE Director Penny Mills (in green).
Image shows a large screen erected by objectors to the proposed Marsh Green Solar farm.