SUPPORT in principle has been given for a 93-hectare solar farm on agricultural land near Canworthy Water.
The site is 950m to the north of Canworthy Water, with the smaller hamlet of Canworthy lying immediately adjacent to the southern boundary. It lies in the Western Culm plateau which is described as elevated mudstones, shales and sandstones which have created a landscape that rises from dramatic high cliffs on the coast to a high plateau inland.
Adjacent to the site to the east is Canworthy Solar Farm which became operational in 2014. This is run by a separate operator and there would be no shared infrastructure.
Pre-application advice acknowledged that while the proposed site has no listed buildings or conservation areas there are heritage assets in the wider vicinity whose settings may be affected by the development including Grade II listed South Wheatley Farmhouse, Tuckingmill, Castle Millford Mill and Castle Millford Mill House. The site also has three circular cropmarks that may represent buried remains of Bronze Age burial mounds. These features could represent a constraint to development.
The applicant, Windel Solar 4 Ltd, was told that community support would be critical to the success of an application for the solar farm and the strength of feeling about the use of productive agricultural land should not be underestimated.
Principal Development Officer, James Hills concluded: “Based upon an initial consideration of your proposals, there would be in-principle support for a solar scheme. Significant weight is given to the generation of electricity from renewable sources and the consequent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions which is a key policy of the development plan and national policy.”
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