Monday, 16 December 2013

Solar Plan for Sidmouth fails

This application has been very controversial:
Futures Forum: Solar Plan for Sidmouth: the application
Futures Forum: Solar Plan for Sidmouth: comments
Futures Forum: Solar Plan for Sidmouth: the press

It has not been supported by Sidmouth Town Council:
Futures Forum: Solar Plan for Sidmouth: Town Council decision
Town councillors reject solar farm - News - Sidmouth Herald
View From Online - News from West Dorset, East Devon & South Somerset

It has been considered by the District Council: 

And it has just been rejected:

The need for renewable energy developments in order to meet UK-wide objectives is recognised but this does not diminish the significance of the country's most valued landscapes and the need to protect them from inappropriate development. In the AONB management strategy it is envisaged that renewable energy projects will be in  the form of small scale domestic installations although it does not rule out larger scale developments if the landscape character is maintained and the natural beauty  of the area is conserved or enhanced. In this case it is considered that the proposed development fails to meet both of those tests and therefore would have an unacceptable impact on the AONB. 

In the absence of information regarding the availability of land elsewhere which could be used to meet the national renewable energy targets, it has not been demonstrated that development in the highly protected AONB landscape is essential. With no imperative need for the development in this location and an unacceptable impact on the character and appearance of the area, the benefits of the scheme do not outweigh the harm. [page 229]

Sidbury Solar Farm plans rejected | Sidmouth Independent News 

It had minimal 'community' provision:

Unfortunately the agents did not provide sufficient time for discussing this proposal before submitting it as an application. I note that the boundary set for the community consultation was much smaller than the LVIA boundary and question as to why they are not consistent in applications such as these... 

The opportunity to provide community gain is also referred to but not clarified. (For example through supporting a local fund or the AONB Sustainable Development Fund)... 

Additionally, as referred to above, a clear and specific commitment to providing some community gain should be made. [pages 217-8-9]

Community Involvement 

A mail drop was undertaken by the applicant in the sparsely populated area around the site, taking in a total of 33 properties. No written responses were received. While this may suggest indifference to the scheme by the nearest residents, consultation on this planning application has drawn comments from further afield which largely express opposition to the scheme. Balancing the objections there have also been letters of support from the local community. [page 229]

See also:
Futures Forum: Community Energy in Exeter
Futures Forum: "Community energy offers a long-lasting solution that protects against ‘big six’ price rises and pumps money back into local areas.”
Futures Forum: SidEnergy launch: event report
Futures Forum: "Support communities who want to install renewable energy systems"
Futures Forum: Community Energy Coalition
Futures Forum: Sustainable Communities
Futures Forum: Do-it-yourself energy: community grids

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