Two solar farms backed for approval by councillors

Two solar farms could be approved by councillors next week if they follow the advice of planning officers.

Shropshire Council's Southern Planning Committee will look at the plans next week
Shropshire Council's Southern Planning Committee will look at the plans next week

The proposals, one for land to the east of Squirrel Lane, Ledwyche, and the second for Brick House Farm at Greete, both near Ludlow, will be considered by Shropshire Council's Southern Planning Committee.

The committee meets on Tuesday, September 27, with both applications recommended for approval.

The Brick House Farm proposal would cover 54 hectares, and would generate around 49.99MW of electricity – enough for around 10,000 homes according to a report from planning officer Grahame French.

The proposal would have a lifespan of 40 years.

The Ledwyche plan would produce enough electricity for around 1,250 homes, and is also expected to last for 40 years before decommissioning.

A report from Mr French on the Brick House plan says the council has no concerns about the visual impact of the project on the landscape.

He said: "Whilst the concerns of some public respondents with regard to visual impact are noted it is not considered that refusal on the grounds of landscape and visual impacts could be justified."

He added: "It is considered that the visual information submitted in support of the application indicates that the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is located too far away to be materially affected by the proposed development and that this is supported by the applicant’s visual appraisal."

In respect of the Ledwyche plan Mr French writes: "The proposed facility would generate 12 Megawatts of renewable electricity for export to the local electricity grid which is equivalent to the annual power consumption of 1,250 homes.

"Over the lifetime of the facility over 180,000 tonnes of Carbon Dioxide emissions would be saved."

Mr French's report also rejects claims by opponents of the plans over the visual impact of the scheme.

He wrote: "They claim that the proposals would be widely visible from the surrounding area and, as such, would impact adversely on leisure and tourism interests. This conclusion is not supported by officer inspection of the site and its environs or by the comments of the council’s landscape adviser

"It is considered that the photovoltaic panels have been positioned sensitively within the landscape. There would be some visual impacts in the areas nearest to the site, but these would be localised and mitigated by landscaping.

"Beyond this it is considered that any observable effects would be minor adverse once mitigation and intervening vegetation are taken into account."

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