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The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government has said no to an ugly solar ‘farm’ in the New Forest National Park.
Greg Clark has dismissed an appeal from MTS Exbury Solar Ltd against refusal of planning permission by the New Forest National Park Authority. The application was for a solar farm on nine hectares of land east of Lepe Farm, Exbury. The appeal was heard at Lymington Town Hall in January.
This is an excellent result. This beautiful area, close to public paths, has been spared from a terrible eyesore. The inspector and the Secretary of State concluded that a solar farm, with all its paraphernalia, ‘would have significant adverse landscape and visual effects’ and that ‘great weight should be given to conserving landscape and scenic beauty in national parks, which have the highest status of protection’.
They agreed that ‘the benefits are clearly outweighed by the considerable harm to the landscape and natural beauty of this part of the New Forest National Park’.
The inspector also noted the significant impact on users of the nearby footpath and bridleway known as the Lepe Loop recreational route. This is an attractive five-mile walking route on coast and through countryside, promoted by Hampshire County Council.
It is a great relief that this damaging development has been so roundly condemned by both the inspector and the Secretary of State who have upheld the decision of the New Forest National Park authority. We congratulate our member, the Exbury and Lepe Community Group, for its hard work in fighting this case.
The decision letter and inspector’s report will be found here.