Decision to be made on controversial solar farm plan in Vale of Belvoir

A decision is set to be made on controversial plans to create a solar farm in the Vale of Belvoir which could power the equivalent of 15,000 homes.

By Nick Rennie
Friday, 5th August 2022, 10:36 am
A drone image showing the site of the planned solar farm in the Vale of Belvoir, looking west
IMAGE SUPPLIED
A drone image showing the site of the planned solar farm in the Vale of Belvoir, looking west IMAGE SUPPLIED

Melton borough councillors will consider the scheme, which would cover eight agricultural fields in the Long Clawson and Stathern areas, at a special planning committee meeting next week.

The council considers it to fit in with the borough’s green agenda but it has received nearly 250 representations from local people objecting to the scheme.

There are concerns that the development would detract from views across the Vale and that it would be visible from significant heritage sites such as Belvoir Castle, its park and gardens, plus the historic Church of St Peter and St Paul, in Barkestone Le Vale.

But a report which will go before councillors reiterates the council’s pledge to work towards ensuring its operations become carbon neutral by 2030 and further promote the cutting of emissions within the wider borough.

The committee will be recommended to approve the scheme because it is seen to fit with the council’s green agenda.

The report states: “Although there would inevitably be some impacts upon the landscape, particularly visual, associated with a development of this scale, it is considered that these can be suitably mitigated through an appropriate landscaping scheme and this development proposal would result in slight or negligible visual harm.

"Further, any minor conflicts that have been identified with the development plan policies, including those of heritage are significantly outweighed by the benefits of the proposal.”

Further concerns were raised during a public consultation about the disruption and negative impact of construction traffic accessing the site via Sutton Lane off the A52 for the six months it would take to build the solar farm.

The highways authority has not raised any objections to this, though, according to the planning report, with an average of eight deliveries due to be made a day during the construction.

Objectors also say it will negatively impact wildlife, the quality of life of nearby residents and that it will spoil an area of natural beauty.

Applicants, Green Farm Solar Ltd, say the farm would be for temporary period of 40 years and it would make a significant contribution to the government target of reducing carbon emissions to net zero by 2050.