Apple grower's solar farm bid rejected

Devon apple grower Blackstock Farms has had its bid to create a solar farm on greenfield land rejected by local planners.

Image: Orangeaurochs (CC BY 2.0)
Image: Orangeaurochs (CC BY 2.0)

The 5MW PV array at its at Pixford Fruit Farm in the village of Ash Priors would have comprised panels 2.5m high covering 30 per cent of the seven-hectare farm.

Taunton Deane Borough Council planning inspectorate found that "the introduction of solar arrays, along with ancillary structures and high fencing would undoubtedly change the open, undeveloped character of the appeal site from a predominantly undeveloped pastoral landscape to one incorporating uncharacteristic man made structures".

It concluded that proposed ameliorating planting would take time to mature and renewable energy and farm diversification benefits would not outweigh harm, despite the planning officer's support.

A local action group had formed to protest against the proposals, which it said would add to the 14 solar farms already lying within an 8km radius of the village.

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