Agenda and minutes
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To approve as a correct record the minutes of the Regulation (Informal) Committee held on 17th May 2022. The draft minutes can be viewed at:
The minutes of the Regulation (Informal) Committee meeting held on 17th May 2022, copies of which had been circulated, were agreed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.
Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Jason Baker, Sarah Dyke, Paul Maxwell, Dean Ruddle, William Wallace and Sue Osborne.
Declarations of Interest
In accordance with the Council's current Code of Conduct (as amended 26 February 2015), which includes all the provisions relating to Disclosable Pecuniary Interests (DPI), personal and prejudicial interests, Members are asked to declare any DPI and also any personal interests (and whether or not such personal interests are also "prejudicial") in relation to any matter on the Agenda for this meeting.
There were no declarations of interest.
Public Question Time
There were no questions from members of the public.
Proposal: Ground mounted solar farm with DNO substation, point of connection, ancillary infrastructure and associated works, landscape planting and access tracks.
The Planning Specialist presented the application and referred to the addendum updating members on comments received from the Council’s Conservation consultant. Considering these comments, she wished to alter the heritage impact assessment from ‘no harm’ to ‘slight harm’.
With the aid of slides, she then proceeded to highlight the site location and proposed plans and included:
· That following amendment and additional information, no outstanding objections from any statutory consultees remain. The objections received related mainly to adverse impact on the visual amenity, character and AONB. Some concern raised regarding the impact on protected species (bats) and plans for water main easements.
· 9 objections received related mainly to the adverse impact on visual amenity, character and AONB. Some concern raised regarding the loss of grade 3b agricultural land, impact on heritage assets, landscaping not effective and cumulative impact of solar farms in the area and lack of financial benefit.
· Explained in detail the visual and character impact of the proposals within the local area and recognised the proposal would have some adverse impact on the appearance and character of the site due to it being a non-agricultural scheme and extent of land coverage
· Proposed mitigation plans including new/additional planting, green corridors and biodiversity gains, referred to the temporary duration of 30 years for the scheme, proposed landscaping strategy and conditions to address mitigation of visual impacts. She acknowledged that mitigation would be less effective when first planted but impact would reduce over time.
· Condition to ensure anti-reflecting coating is employed regarding any glint and glare concerns.
· Heritage impact showing various views of Pipplepen Farm and outbuildings and considered this impact to be at the lower end of less than substantial harm and therefore outweighed by public benefits.
In conclusion she referred to the adverse impacts to visual amenity, character of area and setting of AONB, impact to setting of listed buildings, biodiversity net gains, some economic benefits, carbon reduction and renewable energy benefit and the council’s climate emergency declaration and considered that cumulatively the benefits would outweigh any disbenefits.
The Planning Specialist also considered the proposal accords with the policies of the Local Plan and the aims and objectives of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). She therefore concluded that after considering all the responses and advice, as outlined in the agenda report, her recommendation was to approve the application subject to the conditions as set out in the agenda report.
In response to members’ questions the Planning Specialist and Landscape Consultant clarified:
· The orientation of the site and position of the solar panels at a similar scheme shown in a photo at the end of the presentation on the application itself.
· The direction and access of the construction traffic to the site, this being within Dorset CC and therefore they would be assessing this aspect of the scheme.
· That the application site is within the curtilage of Pipplepen Farm. ... view the full minutes text for item 146.
Date of Next Meeting
The next scheduled meeting of the Regulation Committee will be held on Tuesday 21st February 2023 at 10.00am.
Members noted the date of the next meeting was likely to be rescheduled and held on Tuesday 14th February 2023 at 10.00am. Confirmation would be sent to members as soon as possible.