Day: 6 June 2015

Heritage experts say plans for solar farm outside Ludlow should be refused or deferred

Kronos Solar has submitted plans for a 33-acre solar farm adjacent between Henley Hall and Ledwyche on the outskirts of Ludlow. Now heritage experts say the scheme should be rejected or deferred because the assessment of the impact of the development on heritage assets, especially Henley Hall park, is inadequate. Historic England says it is currently “unable to support” the scheme. In its comment published yesterday, Historic England says: The proposed development is situated directly adjacent to the Grade II Registered Park and Garden Henley Hall, which itself contains a number of listed structures including the Grade II* Henley Hall and the Grade II listed Park House. The proposed development falls within the setting of Grade II Henley Hall Park. We consider that given the extent and nature of the proposed development, and its location immediately adjacent to the boundary of the Registered park, the proposed development would cause harm to the significance of the heritage asset as a consequence of development within its setting.

Planning decisions are a matter of balance, weighing up the positive benefits of a proposal against any negative consequences – called “the planning balance”. Until a couple of years ago, there was a tendency to give insufficient weight to heritage and conservation assets in judging this balance. This was despite the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990. Section 66 of the Act[i] says: In considering whether to grant planning permission for development which affects a listed building or its setting, the local planning authority or, as the case may be, the Secretary of State shall have special regard to the desirability of preserving the building or its setting or any features of special architectural or historic interest which it possesses.

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