Shropshire Star

Council leader launches petition and threatens court action over Telford solar farm decision

Telford's council leader today asked residents to sign a petition to urge Michael Gove to reverse the decision to grant planning permission for a solar farm near The Wrekin.

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A similar solar farm at Wheat Leasows in Telford

Councillor Shaun Davies has also not ruled out taking the Government to the High Court after the decision to overrule both a planning inspector and the council after they denied planning permission for the New Works Lane solar farm.

Earlier this week, Lee Rowley MP, junior minister at the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, overruled planning inspector Mike Robins who had held a public inquiry into plans last summer.

The solar farm, which is set to be the size of 75 football pitches, had already been refused planning permission by Telford & Wrekin Council but developer Greentech Invest had appealed.

In a decision announced on Monday, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities agreed that the solar farm would cause "detrimental change to the strategic landscape" but that the benefits of the scheme would outweigh the harm.

Now Telford & Wrekin Council leader Councillor Davies has asked residents to sign an online petition calling on Secretary of State Michael Gove to reverse decision on the New Works Solar Farm.

Councillor Davies said: “I am bitterly disappointed that junior minister Lee Rowley has, with a flick of a pen in Whitehall, overturned the decision of the Government’s own inspector who oversaw the appeal at the New Works Inquiry in November 2022.

“Communities have said 'No', the council has said 'No' and the inspector has said 'No', yet the Government has decided to take the side of the developer.

"I am therefore calling on Mark Pritchard MP to do his job and invite the Secretary of State, Michael Gove to come to Telford and Wrekin to see for himself what a beautiful and precious green area New Works is and how much it is valued by our communities.

"That’s why we are asking residents to sign our online petition, calling on the Secretary of State to visit Telford and Wrekin so that he can understand the depth of feeling on this issue”

Councillor Davies added that the authority has not ruled out taking the Government to court over the issue.

He said: “Telford and Wrekin Council are currently taking urgent legal advice on whether to challenge the Government’s decision in the High Court, which is likely to cost £100,000s of taxpayers' money.

"Whilst we are not ruling out legal action, it makes no sense that one public body is having to spend this amount of taxpayers' money when Michael Gove has the ability to look at this personally himself.

"This is a complete lack of respect for our communities from a junior minister, who hasn’t got a clue about our beautiful green spaces here in Telford and Wrekin. He has just looked at it from an office in Whitehall and given the green light to go ahead.

“As a council, we know the vital importance of renewable energy and are not nimbys on this issue. We are one of only a few councils who have their own solar farm and have granted others, but these developments need to be in the right place and the New Works Solar Farm is absolutely not in the right place.”

The petition by the Telford Labour group is online at

Wrekin MP Mark Pritchard, responded to Councillor Davies by urging him to take the matter to the courts.

He said: "Rather than suggesting silly political gimmicks for an application I continue to oppose, the Council needs to make an application to the High Court to review this flawed decision."