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Decision on the horizon for village solar farm

A DECISION is expected soon on plans to build a  solar farm inWest Woodlands, which went to appeal last year after being rejected by Mendip’s planning department.

Plans for the 9.8 hectare site were submitted in May last year, then rejected by Mendip District Council in August. An appeal was launched by developers Sunsave 24 (West Woodlands) Ltd in October, and Mendip District Council have indicated that they expect a decision in “late July.”

The proposed 6.8 megawatt farm would produce enough power for roughly 2,100 homes. Developers have requested that it be allowed to remain for 30 years; longer than most solar farms’ 25 year lifespan.

When Mendip District Council rejected the plans, they ruled that land on the site at Court Farm, West Woodlands was of too high a quality to be damaged by such a large scale development. The area is currently used for grazing cattle.

The decision ruled, “The proposal because of its size and scale, would  constitute significant development of greenfield land, including best and most versatile agricultural land.

“The adverse impact is not outweighed by the benefits of the scheme in terms of generating renewable energy and is not considered to be sustainable development.”

Mendip also raised concerns that the farm, which would be roughly two miles from Frome, would damage the character of the surrounding area, including the Cranborne Chase and West Wiltshire Downs Area of Natural Beauty, and a number of listed properties.

Public consultation only saw six comments returned, of which four were in favour and two against the application.

To see more documents relating to the case, search planning application number 2014/0852 on