Controversial solar farm gets the go-ahead - The Leamington Observer

Controversial solar farm gets the go-ahead

Leamington Editorial 20th Jul, 2023   0

CONTROVERSIAL plans for a huge solar farm near Kenilworth have been given the green light.

Warwick District Council planning committee granted permission for the farm on some 55 hectares of mainly agricultural land at Honiley – despite a recommendation by the authority’s own officers to refuse the application.

Councillors voted contrary to the recommendation as they felt the environmental benefits outweighed the negatives.

These included the increase in renewable energy production and also a ‘substantial’ benefit to biodiversity in the area.




The available connection to the National Grid substation at Berkswell was also cited as a positive, which created ‘very special circumstances’ which ‘clearly outweighed’ harm to the Green Belt and ‘other harm’.

The committee also took on board the land would be returned to agricultural use after its 40 year lifespan.


But there was considerable opposition to the proposed farm, the size of around 80 football pitches, which would produce enough renewable energy for approximately 6,000 average family homes a year.

Beausale, Haseley, Honiley & Wroxhall Parish Council argued the farm would ‘fundamentally alter the tranquillity and openness’ of the area by placing a large industrial scale development within it.

The council also highlighted that as the energy generated at the site would go to the

Berkswell substation for national distribution there would be no local benefit. It was also not convinced by claims that no alternative sites existed.

And the parish council questioned the validity of WDC’s ‘very special circumstances’ outweighing the potential harm to the Green Belt.

The proposal also received 120 objections from the public, many of which echoed the concerns of the parish council.

Others argued that a 40 year operational lifespan was not temporary and that the proposal would add to harm caused by HS2.

 

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