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Villagers lose solar farm fight
10:14am Thursday 26th September 2013 in News
A SOLAR farm with 11,500 panels is set to be created in Mickleton after plans were approved on appeal.
Applicant MS Power Projects got the go-ahead for the installation of the two-andhalf-metre-high photovoltaic panels on land at Norton Hall, off Broad Marston Road, last Wednesday following an appeal to the Secretary of State for the Environment.
The scheme was originally thrown out by Cotswold District Council in February.
Planning inspector Jill Kingaby said in her report that despite “significant local opposition” to the scheme, the benefits outweighed the harm particularly in helping the delivery of renewable energy.
“Although the site is outside a settlement boundary, the proposal would not be significantly harmful to the character and appearance of the surrounding rural area,”
she said. “The impact on living conditions at the dwellings in the locality would not be so severe that it would render any properties unpleasant places to live.”
Those in opposition to the scheme achieved a small victory earlier this year after the applicant reduced the number of panels from 16,000 following an outcry from residents. Villager Kris Clarke, who led the campaign against the plans, said perseverance from residents secured a smaller solar farm.
“I think the village itself are pleased that they have been able to reduce the size of the farm. While it is not the full result we may have wished for, it most certainly is not the worst,” he said.
However Colin Maull, 69, who lives opposite the site, said: “I’m disappointed for the countryside and with the result after all the hard work we’ve done. It just makes it feel like a waste of time.”
John Franklin, chairman of Mickleton Parish Council, said: “The demonstrations succeeded in decreasing the number of panels which was a part victory but it was almost a foregone conclusion because of Government pressure we would not win the appeal.
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