Luson Farm in Ermington, near Ivybridge, Devonshire has recently rented out a small percentage of its land to solar power generator, Lightsource Renewable Energy.
The land will now accommodate a solar farm generating 1.9MW – the equivalent of enough power for around 575 households, *which is enough green electricity to … the whole of Ermington. Lightsource has consulted with South Hams District Council and English Heritage to avoid an adverse impact on the setting of the listed building that is Grade II listed Clickland Court.
Initial discussions with South Hams District Council raised concerns that the proposed solar farm could potentially impact on the setting of Clickland Court. The Council involved English Heritage in the planning process, providing an opportunity for the organisation to feedback their thoughts on the proposed solar farm installation.
Demonstrating commitment to local concerns, Lightsource carried out detailed investigations and surveys of the local area, providing various proposals and revised layouts over a number of months to the Council’s Landscape and Conservation Officers, as well as English Heritage, for review and discussions.
Further investigation of suitable land available at Luson Farm had revealed an alternative field to the north east of the site originally proposed. This field was completely hidden from view from Clickland Court. By using this field, plus retaining areas of the original field where sightlines were acceptable, it was then possible to slightly increase the size of the solar farm from the 1.8MW originally proposed to the approved 1.9MW. Finally a revised proposal was submitted 6 months later, with a view to addressing the concerns of English Heritage and the Council.
Conor McGuigan, Business Development Director for Lightsource, comments, “Following detailed discussions with English Heritage and the Senior Conservation and Landscaping Officers of South Hams District Council, we have been able to present a solution that is acceptable. The planning application phase of this project is a good example of the importance we place on addressing local concerns”.
“Sometimes we have to think a little laterally to find the right solutions. In this case, the benefit of revisiting our designs and making further investigations has presented us with the best possible outcome whereby we are able to present an agreeable solution whilst increasing the amount of ‘green’ energy that could be generated”
Conor adds, “We are confident that the benefits and impacts of our proposal were weighted in detail and the outcome determined that the positive contribution to providing sustainable energy outweighed any perceived negative impact to the local surroundings. Final planning consent was subsequently granted on the 8th January 2013.”
Any farmer or landowner with a site of at least 6 acres wishing to discuss its suitability as a solar farm should contact 0333 200 0755 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.