Councillors throw out plans for 1,086 solar panels on Whittlesey farmland

PLANS to install more than 1,000 solar panels on a Whittlesey farm have been thrown out by councillors - even though officers had backed the green energy scheme.

After hearing that neighbours described the proposed 12 rows of panels as a “distasteful eyesore,” a Fenland District Council planning committee decided that the 2.4m high panels and security fencing would adversely impact on the visual amenities of the area.

Councillors also concluded that the proposed ground mounted photovoltaic solar panels in Ramsey Road would be detrimental to the amenities of the neighbouring residential property.

Lark Energy Ltd had applied to erect the 1,086 panels at Blackbush Farm, on a site between farm buildings and the neighbouring bungalow at the Piggeries, and tilted southwards at 30 degrees. They would have created 250kW of electricity a year, equal to that used by Blackbush Farm.

Whittlesey Town Council opposed the plan, saying it was an industrial sized development, and questioned the use of security fencing and a guard dog on site.

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The district council received ten representations, and two petitions opposing the plan, putting forwards concerns about security, impact on the landscape, impact on nearby businesses and residents, and health implications.

A report from officers said the impact on the open countryside had been minimised by placing the panels close to existing buildings. Although the 2.2m high security fencing was “not particularly suited to the rural landscape,” it was considered that semi mature landscaping on the outer side of the fencing would mitigate any harmful visual impact.

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The report said it was regrettable that a neighbouring property had felled some high hedging, and the proposal was unlikely to result in a harmful effect on adjoining residential amenities due to the “relatively small scale of the proposal, the lack of glare and the proposed boundary treatments.”

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