Planning Application 20/03701/S73A Clapton Farm Solar Park Land West Of Tinkers Lane Southeast Of B3081 Cucklington BA9 9QE
Application Proposal: The erection of solar photovoltaic panels and associated works and infrastructure, including switchgear, inverter stations, access tracks, security fencing, security cameras, grid connection, together with temporary construction access, compound and unloading area (without complying with condition 04 of planning permission 15/03373/FUL and condition 03 of planning permission 18/03338/S73A to extend the operational time to 23rd March 2057).
The Interim, Planning Lead presented the report and with the aid of a poweproint presentation highlighted the site and existing solar farm.
He explained this application was merely seeking permission to extend the time period for the operation of the existing solar farm. He said that as a result of market changes and technological advancement this application is seeking an extension of approximately 16 years from the operative permission until 23rd March 2057.
He noted that one third party representation had objected to the application as they believe there is no justification to further extend the operational life of the solar park. However he considered that the application supports the Council’s Climate change emergency position, The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and Local Plan Policy.
He therefore concluded that after considering all of the responses and advice, as outlined in the agenda report, his proposal was to approve the application subject to the conditions as set out in the agenda report.
The Agent addressed the committee and confirmed that no further physical development is being proposed. He felt the original landscape mitigation provided, will over time, enhance the area along with the biodiversity benefits and carbon dioxide savings and provide clear environmental benefits.
During a short debate members voiced their support of the application and acknowledged technological advancement and improved efficiency over time. It was then proposed and seconded that the application be approved as per the officers recommendation as set out in the agenda report. On being put to the vote this was carried unanimously.
That application reference 20/03701/S73A be approved for the following reason:
01. The proposal to vary the operational lifespan of the solar farm for a temporary period of up to 40 years from the date the solar farm was first registered with OFGEM is considered acceptable, and has no material impact on the temporary nature of the permission, which continues to respect the character of the area and causes no demonstrable harm to neighbour amenity and highway safety or the impact on the setting and local environment. The proposal is in accordance with the aims and objectives of the NPPF and Policies SD1, TA5, EQ1, EQ2, EQ4, EQ5 and EQ7 of the South Somerset Local Plan.
SUBJECT TO THE FOLLOWING:
01. The development hereby permitted shall be carried out in accordance with the following approved plans which form part of the planning permission dated 14th December 2018 (ref 18/03338/S73A):
Drawing no. 1088-0200-01 "Site Boundary Plan";
Drawing no. 694-03S "Landscape Proposals";
"Addendum to provide updated Landscape and Ecology Management Plan (LEMP)" dated 10th October 2018; and
"Planning statement" dated 10th October 2018,
together with the following drawings and correspondence which form part of the grant of planning permission dated 17th November 2015 (ref 15/03373/FUL):
1088-0200- 01 Issue 01
1171-0201- 01 Issue 011
1171-0204- 00 Issue 01
1171-0205- 04 Issue 01
1171-0903- 05 Issue 01
1171-0206- 15 Issue 01
1171-0207- 16 Issue 01
1171-0207- 40 Issue 01
1171-0208- 10 Issue 01
1171-0208- 54 Issue 01
1171-0208- 71 Issue 01,
Colour tones of all associated structures shall accord with the details given in the applicant's letter of the 20 October 2015.
Landscape and Ecology Management Plan (LEMP)
and the details submitted in response to conditions 03, 05, 06, 07 and 08 of 15/03373/FUL and approved by letter dated 16th March 2016 under application ref 15/05612/DOC.
Reason: For the avoidance of doubt and in the interests of proper planning.
The development hereby permitted shall cease on 23rd March 2057, or within 6 months of the cessation of the use of the solar farm for the generation of electricity, whichever is the sooner. Within 6 months of power generation ceasing, or such other period as agreed in writing, all solar farm structures, materials and any ancillary equipment shall be removed and the land restored to agriculture use, in accordance with a
restoration plan that has previously been submitted to and agreed in writing by the Local Planning Authority. Such details shall include the time scale for decommissioning.
Reason: In the interests of character and appearance further to policy EQ2 of the South Somerset Local Plan 2006- 2028.
The applicant shall ensure that all vehicles leaving the site are in such condition as not to emit dust or deposit mud, slurry or other debris on the highway. In particular (but without prejudice to the foregoing), efficient means shall be installed, maintained and employed for cleaning the wheels of all lorries leaving the site in accordance with the approved details and fully implemented and thereafter maintained until the use of the site discontinues.
Reason: In the interests of highway safety further to Policy EQ2 and TA5 of the South Somerset Local Plan 2006- 2028.
No means of external illumination/lighting shall be installed within the site, unless otherwise agreed in writing by the Local Planning Authority.
Reason: In the interests of landscape character and visual appearance further to Policy EQ2 of the South Somerset Local Plan 2006- 2028.
Any trees or plant which form part of the approved landscaping scheme set out on drawing number 694-03S that die, are removed or become seriously damaged or diseased shall be replaced in the next planting season with others of similar size and species, unless the Local Planning Authority gives written consent to any variation.
Reason: In the interests of visual amenity and landscape character further to Policy EQ2 of the South Somerset Local Plan 2006- 2028.