Defeat of Somerset solar farm

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We are delighted that a planning inspector has rejected plans for a solar farm. The development was proposed by MS Power Projects Ltd at Ritherdens, Rumwell, on three fields about a kilometre west of Taunton in Somerset.

Taunton Deane Borough Council’s planning committee overturned the officer’s recommendation and refused planning permission, but the developers appealed and the matter was determined by Mr D C Pinner of the Planning Inspectorate.

Our local correspondent Mr Paul Partington objected to the plans.

The inspector reported that ‘The three footpaths crossing the appeal site provide safe and attractive places to walk. There are open views from these paths for much of their lengths and this contributes significantly to their attractiveness.’ He referred to them as ‘a valuable local resource’, and continued: ‘all three footpaths would be through a field of PV installations and their character and attractiveness would be very badly diminished. … The harmful impact on the attractiveness of the footpaths would be likely to be permanent.’

He concluded: ‘the scheme would be seriously harmful to the character and appearance of the local landscape, particularly as experienced by walkers along the public footpaths crossing and near to the site.’

Says Paul: ‘We are delighted that the blight on the footpaths featured so strongly in the inspector’s decision. The society objected to the application because of its adverse effect on the public’s use and enjoyment of these three footpaths. These paths are well used by the inhabitants of several small communities surrounding the proposed development as well as by visitors from further afield. They would have found themselves walking in an industrial estate rather than across open countryside.’

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