Changes to Henley Hall solar farm access thrown out giving residents some tranquility

Plans for a solar farm at Henley Hall on the outskirts of Ludlow were approved in June after an appeal to the planning inspectorate. In September, the size of the solar farm was reduced.

But at the same time, Kronos Solar said it wanted construction traffic to access the site near to housing at Lower Ledwyche. The original plan had been to access the solar farm via an existing concrete track well away from housing.

Nearby residents were quite rightly furious with the plans, which would have caused considerable local disruption.

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Welcome to the new ugly Ludlow – Henley Hall solar farm appeal gets the go ahead

Sometimes it is better to write blogs that reflect the mood you are in. At other times it is best to wait. On this occasion I am spitting so much blood in anger so I think it is better to publish.

The planning inspectorate in Bristol has approved a huge solar farm off Squirrel Lane on the edge of Ludlow.

I am appalled by this decision. It will industrialise the gentle rural edge of Ludlow.

I am sorry to say that this is typical of decisions taken by the planning inspectorate in Bristol. They come here for a few days and make hasty judgements on what should or should go ahead. The planning inspectorate will probably never come here again to look at the consequences of this decision.  There will never be a reality check on the damage they have done to the countryside on the edge of town. No one in Bristol will look at the long effects on tourism or ever come back to try to understand the impact of their decisions.

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We should not be losing solar farm appeals in South Shropshire

I am disappointed and rather angry that a planning inspector has allowed a solar farm to go ahead above Neen Sollars, near Cleobury Mortimer. I don’t think that this appeal needed to have been lost.

The Neen Sollars decision follows the approval by another planning inspector of a solar farm at Acton Scott. A decision on an application for a solar farm at Whitton is due any day. I fear for the result.

All three solar farm applications were turned down by the South Planning Committee against the advice of officers. In all three cases, councillors have subsequently been excluded from the appeal process. The council’s case was submitted after the planning inspectorate deadline for two of the three appeals. To me this suggests that the technical documentation was prepared under hurried pressure. And for all three applications, the appeal case has been written by the same planning team that enthusiastically supported the planning application at the South Planning Committee.

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We councillors take different line to Shropshire Council in objection to Henley Hall solar farm appeal

Update 26 February 2016

The planning inspectorate has appointed Philip Major as inspector for the appeal.

Update 21 February 2016

On the day, our submission to the planning appeal was accepted (see below), Kronos Solar lodged a hasty code of conduct complaint against me for publishing a letter from its director Alexander Arcache. The letter had asked if I would help him get the application through South Planning Committee. It goes without saying that I am not going to advise or help any developer on an application where I have a vote. The complaint was rejected but I accept that I should have sent the letter to Shropshire Council for publication on the planning portal.

Main article 1 February 2016

There will be a lot of Ludlow people in Craven Arms on 5 April. We’ll be at the Gateway for the appeal hearing into Shropshire Council’s refusal of an application for a 5MW solar farm at Henley Hall on Squirrel Lane. The four of us unitary councillors for Ludlow and Clee will be there, along with residents from the area.

We’ll be facing Kronos Solar, the applicant, which is determined to get this scheme approved. Kronos, based in Munich, has at times taken an unusual approach to this application. Members of the South Planning Committee were rung by a lobbyist acting on behalf of Kronos, who pressed the case for the scheme so hard I put the phone down on him. Alexander Arcache, the managing director, emailed me asking if I could advise him on how to get the application through the South Planning Committee. Of course, I declined. I also declared and read out the email at the planning committee meeting.

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