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13/1390/MFUL | Construction of solar farm comprising solar arrays, switch gear housing, CCTV cameras and security fencing | Land To The Southwest & West Of Great Houndbeare Farm Aylesbeare Exeter
  • Total Consulted: 14
  • Consultees Responded: 0

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Consultation Date: Tue 16 Jul 2013

EDDC Trees

Consultation Date: Mon 08 Jul 2013

Parish/Town Council

Comment Date: Mon 04 Nov 2013


Dear Sirs,

Planning Application 13/1390 - Solar Farm at Great Houndbeare Farm.

I refer to this application on which the Parish Council has already made comments. From telephone discussions with Planning Officers, and notwithstanding the Parish Council's comments, I understand that you are minded to recommend approval to this application.

I wish to reiterate and emphasise the serious concerns that the erection of over 50 acres of hard surface solar panels could significantly increase the current flood risk in Marsh Green. There has already been flooding in the village last month which emphasises this concern. I have also spoken to a water management consultant who shares our concerns.

I understand that the Environment Agency has not objected to the proposal but has proposed that the developer take alleviation measures to mitigate the increased risk to Marsh Green. Given that you are likely to recommend approval, we expect stringent conditions to be applied to this application. Any alleviation measures must be fully approved by the Environment Agency in writing and they must be required to supervise the works to ensure that they are installed as specified by them. I do not believe that EDDC has the professional resources to either specify such flood alleviation measures or to supervise their installation.

In addition we expect the planning conditions to require the proper maintenance of such flood alleviation measures and that provision be made for the EA to inspect the site as necessary in future to ensure this proper maintenance.

I understand that the application is due to be considered on 12 November and advise that I intend to attend and speak to the Committee.

Comment Date: Tue 30 Jul 2013

13/1390/MFUL - Construction of solar farm on land near Great Houndbeare Farm, Aylesbeare

Members of AYLESBEARE PARISH COUNCIL do not support this application and would ask that the following concerns are taken seriously into account when the final decision is made.
PLANNING IMPLICATIONS
ACCESS - the lane into the site is just seven feet wide in places with sinking tarmac. It is therefore felt to be totally inadequate to take the weight and number of vehicles suggested in the application. The lane was not constructed for this amount of traffic; it has no foundations and is simply a farm track covered with tarmac years ago. Could not an alternative route be found to the site? The access and egress onto Oak Road is also very restricted..

VISUAL IMPACT - Members were not convinced that enough weight has been given to the visibility of the site during the winter months when vegetation is at a minimum.

GENERAL CONCERNS

The loss of 55 acres of agricultural land is contrary to the DCC Structure Plan where there is a policy for the conservation of good agricultural land. According to the application this land has been graded 3B by DEFRA and yet for as long as anyone can remember it has never failed to produce good crops or successfully graze animals. The sacrifice of this large acreage for solar energy would detrimentally affect the country's food supply balance.

The area has a record of being sensitive to flooding. Members are not convinced that the precautionary measures being taken are enough.

The application would undoubtedly affect the flora and fauna connected to this large area despite re-assurances to the contrary.

No measures are in place for the restoration of the area at the end of the term. Members were told at a presentation "We would hope there would be a way to recycle at the end of the term". This was not felt to be an adequate statement.

Members question the viability of Cherry Solar who appear to have no assets. If things went drastically wrong who would take responsibility for the site and where would the finance come from to fund any necessary remedial work?

There is no positive advantage to the community from this application.



County Highway Authority

Comment Date: Tue 13 Aug 2013

Observations:

Although the proposed development is accessed via a private road, Houndbeare Lane, which would appear to be adequate for the amount of vehicle movements attracted to the site, especially during the construction period. The junction of the access to Houndbeare Lane and the C93 county road is severely substandard in visibility especially in the south-westerly direction towards Aylesbeare.

It would appear that at some point previously this junction had acceptable visibility in the south westerly direction. But the road side growth has allowed it to become unacceptable. This is probably why there is an existing angled mirror opposite the junction.

The County Highway Authority does not endorse the use of fixed mirrors as an aid to visibility because they do not give adequate representation of approaching vehicle speeds or distance and can dazzle drivers at night. Also they do not aid the approaching vehicle on the more major road to see the vehicle at the junction waiting to pull out.

Therefore regrettably I must recommend refusal of this application on highway safety grounds. Should the applicant wish to improve the junction so that it conforms to current safety standards, then the County Highway Authority would happily reconsider the application.

12/08/2013
The applicant has contacted the highway authority and is proposing to mitigate the shortfalls in visibility at junction of the W6238 (Hounbeare Lane) and the C93 with the introduction of a controlled three way traffic light system during the construction phase of approximately 6 weeks, details to be contained within a Construction Traffic Management Plan.

I light of this proposal the highway authority can amend its previous recommendation to one of requiring appropriate conditions.

Recommendation:

THE HEAD OF PLANNING, TRANSPORTATION AND ENVIRONMENT, ON BEHALF OF DEVON COUNTY COUNCIL, AS LOCAL HIGHWAY AUTHORITY, RECOMMENDS THAT THE FOLLOWING CONDITIONS SHALL BE INCORPORATED IN ANY GRANT OF PERMISSION:-

1. No development shall start until a Method of Construction Statement, to include details of parking for vehicles of site personal and visitors, loading and unloading of plant and materials, storage of plant and materials, programme of works (including measures for traffic management) has been submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. Only the approved details shall be implemented during the construction period.

Reason
To ensure that adequate on site facilities are available for all traffic attracted to the site during the construction period, in the interest of the safety of all road users of the adjoining public highway and to protect the amenities of the adjoining residents.


2. No development shall start until a scheme specifying arrangements for deliveries to and removals from the site, to include details of specification of types of vehicles and hours of operation, design of delivery areas, specifications for lorry parking and turning spaces, records of HGV movements to and from the site maintained for the construction period and to be available to the Local Planning Authority on request shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. Only the approved details shall implemented.

Reason to control the number of vehicles and times that traffic is attracted to the site.


3. Before any of the operations which involve movement of materials to or from the site are commenced, facilities shall be provided as must be agreed with the Local Planning Authority, in order that the operator can make all reasonable efforts to keep the public highway clean and prevent the creation of a dangerous surface on the public highway. The agreed measures shall be used whenever the said operations are carried out.

Reason
To prevent mud and other debris being carried onto the public highway

Officer authorised to Date: 12 August 2013
sign on behalf of the County Council

Comment Date: Thu 25 Jul 2013

Observations:

Although the proposed development is accessed via a private road, Houndbeare Lane, which would appear to be adequate for the amount of vehicle movements attracted to the site, especially during the construction period. The junction of the access to Houndbeare Lane and the C93 county road is severely substandard in visibility especially in the south-westerly direction towards Aylesbeare.

It would appear that at some point previously this junction had acceptable visibility in the south westerly direction. But the road side growth has allowed it to become unacceptable. This is probably why there is an existing angled mirror opposite the junction.

The County Highway Authority does not endorse the use of fixed mirrors as an aid to visibility because they do not give adequate representation of approaching vehicle speeds or distance and can dazzle drivers at night. Also they do not aid the approaching vehicle on the more major road to see the vehicle at the junction waiting to pull out.

Therefore regrettably I must recommend refusal of this application on highway safety grounds. Should the applicant wish to improve the junction so that it conforms to current safety standards, then the County Highway Authority would happily reconsider the application.












Recommendation:

THE HEAD OF PLANNING, TRANSPORTATION AND ENVIRONMENT, ON BEHALF OF DEVON COUNTY COUNCIL, AS LOCAL HIGHWAY AUTHORITY, RECOMMENDS THAT PERMISSION BE REFUSED FOR THE FOLLOWING REASONS:-

1. The proposed development would be likely to result in an increase in the volume and a change in the character of traffic entering and leaving the Class C County Road through a junction which does not provide adequate visibility from and of emerging vehicles, contrary to paragraph 32 of the National Planning Policy Framework.




Officer authorised to Date: 24 July 2013
sign on behalf of the County Council

Comment Date: Fri 12 Jul 2013

Comments to follow within 21 days

Exeter & Devon Airport - Airfield Operations+Safeguarding

Comment Date: Mon 12 Aug 2013

Construction of a Solar farm and associated equipment on land to the southwest and west of Great Houndbeare Farm, Aylesbeare, Exeter.

Grid Ref: 304574,93342.

We acknowledge receipt of the above planning application for the Installation of PV solar panels at the above location.

This proposal has been examined from an Aerodrome Safeguarding aspect and does appear to conflict with safeguarding criteria.

The land at this location infringes one of the airports obstacle limitation surfaces, namely the inner horizontal surface (IHS) and because of this any development on this land would infringe the surface further. However as this development is only 2.5-3m above ground level and there are obstructions such as buildings, hedges and trees that are considerably higher already, and the land to the east of the development site is even higher this development poses no additional aviation hazard.

Accordingly, Exeter International Airport has no safeguarding objections to this development provided there are no changes made to the current application.

Kindly note that this reply does not automatically allow further developments in this area without prior consultation with Exeter International Airport.

Please see attached guidance note from the CAA, in particular point 3. If glint or glare from this development does create an issue for pilots then the developer must make every effort to minimize this hazard.

Ottery St Mary Rural - Cllr C Wright

Comment Date: Thu 08 Aug 2013

This application is in my ward and my preliminary view is that it should be REFUSED.

According to the Devon Landscape Policy Group advice (page 74) on solar and wind farms, the scheme is exceptionally large - 15.8ha is regarded as "very large." But the proposed Aylesbeare scheme is 22ha, or 55 acres, spanning five fields.

I note the applicant states that the hedgerows and woodland obscures the view of the site from public viewpoints, however, EDDC's landscape architect
(LA) appears to be far from convinced that the scheme will not be visually intrusive.

It is just 300m from the AONB and the LA considers that a wintertime set of photographs to determine the viewpoints when there is no vegetation on the
trees and hedges, must be carried out. When I raised this with the
developer at Aylesbeare Parish Council's meeting on Monday evening, he stated that a set of photographs taken last November would be suitable.

I would argue that these photographs would still show, at this time of the year a considerable amount of vegetation on the hedges and trees and a more accurate assessment should be taken in late January when the trees and hedges are at their barest.

The developer states that the agricultural grading of the land is 3b, however, the land is obviously productive, all of it currently in use to grow wheat or other cereal crops. A local farmer at Monday's Aylesbeare Parish Council meeting commented that this land had always been used for such cereal crop growth. I would therefore, query whether the land has been graded correctly by the developer and would be grateful if this aspect was double-checked.

I see that highways are recommending refusal for the scheme based on the "severely substandard" junction in terms of visibility. I cannot see how the junction could be improved without significantly damaging the Devon
hedgebank adjacent to the junction. I share the concerns of residents
living on the Great Houndbeare Farm access track, that the road is not suitable for dozens of 40 tonne lorry movements each day during the construction period, even for a temporary period.

Finally, I note that the developer is not offering any community benefit, which is surprising given the scale of the scheme and the potential financial benefit that would be incurred should the scheme go ahead.

I reserve my position until all the facts are known, or in the event that this application comes to committee.

No comment yet made

Comment Date: Tue 06 Aug 2013



To Planning West
From Neil Blackmore
Date 2nd August 2013
Site/Reference 13/1390/MFUL
Application Reference Solar PV application Land to Southwest & West of Great Houndbeare Farm, Aylesbeare, East Devon.

Background to comments and site description
Examine submitted information, undertake a site visit and provide comments.
NOTE: 31st July 2013 report revised to include 3 additional photographs.*

Comments

Scale - proposal is considered to be a large Solar PV site.

Layout - accords with existing field pattern but possibly extends too close to field edges which could impact on trees (protective fencing or completion of security fencing would need to be in place prior to installation of the panels) - more details required.

Location - just outside of East Devon AONB.

Existing site condition and character, etc - appears to be enclosed due to existing vegetation. However parts of Field C and all of Field E are more exposed owing to the topography and offers wider views. To the north Houndbeare Farm House and the associated large barns are clearly visible. My most significant concern is the timing of assessment which is at the height of summer when trees are in full leaf. Photographic evidence from key viewpoints taken during winter months is necessary to ensure a robust assessment has been undertaken and the distinctive character of the area will remain intact if the proposals are accepted. NOTE: This is considered to be good practice with regard to the Guidelines for Landscape Visual Impact Assessment - and I would expect the 3rd Edition April 2013 to be used to inform the assessment.

Policy considerations

The new Draft Local Plan is due for submission this Friday. The following Policies should be considered with regard to this planning application:

Strategy 3- Sustainable Development Strategy
3 a) Conserving and Enhancing the Environment - which includes ensuring development is undertaken in a way that minimises harm and enhances biodiversity and the quality and character of the landscape.

Strategy 5 - Environment:
All development proposals will contribute to the delivery of sustainable development, ensure conservation and enhancement of natural and built environmental assets, promote ecosystem services and green infrastructure and geodiversity.

4) Minimising the fragmentation of habitats, creation of new habitats and connection of existing areas to create an ecological network that is identified within the East Devon
District Council Local Biodiversity Plan;
5) Progress towards delivering the Biodiversity Action Plan targets and Local Nature
Reserve Strategy;
Where there is no conflict with biodiversity interests, the enjoyment and use of the natural environment will be encouraged and all proposals should seek to encourage public access to the countryside.

Strategy 7 - Development in the Countryside
The countryside is defined as all those parts of the plan area that are outside the Built-up Area Boundaries and outside of site specific allocations shown on the Proposals Map. Development in the countryside will only be permitted where it is in accordance with a specific Local Plan policy that explicitly permits such development and where it would not harm the distinctive landscape, amenity and environmental qualities within which it is located, including:
1. Land form and patterns of settlement.
2. Important natural and manmade features which contribute to the local landscape character, including topography, traditional field boundaries, areas of importance for nature conservation and rural buildings.
3. The adverse disruption of a view from a public place which forms part of the distinctive character of the area or otherwise causes significant visual intrusions.

Background

The site is located just over 300 metres from the East Devon AONB. The scale of development and form of 'change in use' proposed is considered to be significant and justifies the Councils concern for ensuring the application assesses the impacts accurately.


East Devon District Councils Landscape Character Assessment & Management Guidelines 2008

The site is located within Landscape Character Type (LCT) 3B LOWER ROLLING FARMED AND SETTLED SLOPES
The key characteristics to consider with regard to this application have been highlighted in bold -
o Gently rolling landform, sloping up from valley floor
o Variable size fields with wide, low boundaries and irregular pattern
o Pastoral land use, often with wooded appearance
o Many hedgerow trees, copses and streamside tree rows
o Settled, with varied building ages, styles and settlement size
o Much use of stone as building material
o Winding, often sunken lanes
o Streams and ditches
o Tranquil and intimate

Settlement and development: conserve and enhance by
1. Ensuring that any development contributes to local distinctiveness and assists integration of settlements within the landscape by the use of indigenous species.



Theoretical Zone of Visual Influence




The image above shows the theoretical zones of visual influence from two locations within the proposed site and provides a useful baseline with regard to the local topography.
The image does not take account of the extensive hedgebanks, hedgerow trees and areas of woodland but informs potential viewpoints. These important features will help screen the proposed scheme and must be accounted for as an integral part of the overall application. A detailed management plan (Arboricultural, Biodiversity and Landscape) should be submitted for approval prior to commencement.
A winter time assessment is particularly important for applications of this scale as vegetation is predominantly deciduous in this part of East Devon.








Site Assessment photographs:

Photograph 1 - illustrates the low hedgebanks on the western boundary of Field E

Photograph 2 is taken close to the highest point of the proposed site in Field E. The properties along the Rockbeare road are clearly visible from this location. The existing vegetation provides a considerably effective screen when in leaf.

Photograph 3 from Field A indicates clear views to Houndbeare Farm Barns to the north east. The vegetation around the field offers a solid screen when the vegetation is in leaf but it is quite likely that during winter months the entire field is visible (for approximately 4-5 months).

Photograph 4 is of Field B and illustrates the sloping land, variation in field size and Furzy Copse providing a substantial screen on the northern and eastern boundaries.



Photograph 5 taken south west of the site near Manor Plantation on the road to Aylesbeare. The site appears to be completely screened by vegetation.

Photograph 6 from further east along the Aylesbeare road adjacent to Manor Plantation near Topshayes Farm allows for fields C and E to be visible. Vegetation provides a significant screen but confirms concerns for impacts during the winter months.

Photograph 7 illustrates the scale of the landscape from this relatively high ground overlooking Withy Bed Copse. Additional information is required to ensure the proposed development does not significantly adversely impact on the 'gently rolling landform' key distinctive characteristic for the area.

Recommendation

The application is not considered to be acceptable in its current form.

If development is allowed in the western part of field C and all of Field E it is potentially visible, in particular in the winter time.
Given these concerns additional information is required:
i) consider reduction in the overall site area (Field E and western part of Field C)
ii) undertake further assessment work to confirm the degree of visual impact (in particular from Rockbeare Road) with photographic evidence during winter months and include photomontages of year 1 and after 10 years
iii) revise proposals to incorporate additional mitigation and biodiversity enhancement to overcome these concerns, including re-considering extent of panels and locations of fencing with regard to exiting trees and hedgerows.

A detailed Landscape Scheme accompanied by a detailed Management Plan (Arboriculture, Biodiversity and Landscape) should be submitted to ensure the scheme proposals address the Councils wider 'sustainable development' concerns.





Further Information
1. Landscape Character Assessment & Management Guidelines - eMap, http://emap/general/viewer.htm and open "countryside "and then "landscape character"
2. East Devon AONB Management Strategywww.eastdevonaonb.org.uk/publications.asp
3. Devon County Council Landscape Character Areas Assessment http://www.devon.gov.uk/index/environmentplanning/natural_environment/landscape/devon-character-areas/dca-east-devon.htm

Comment Date: Thu 01 Aug 2013



Comments

Scale - proposal is considered to be a large Solar PV site.

Layout - accords with existing field pattern but possibly extends too close to field edges which could impact on trees (protective fencing or completion of security fencing would need to be in place prior to installation of the panels) - more details required.

Location - just outside of East Devon AONB.

Existing site condition and character, etc - appears to be enclosed due to existing vegetation. However parts of Field C and all of Field E are more exposed owing to the topography and offers wider views. To the north Houndbeare Farm House and the associated large barns are clearly visible. My most significant concern is the timing of assessment which is at the height of summer when trees are in full leaf. Photographic evidence from key viewpoints taken during winter months is necessary to ensure a robust assessment has been undertaken and the distinctive character of the area will remain intact if the proposals are accepted. NOTE: This is considered to be good practice with regard to the Guidelines for Landscape Visual Impact Assessment - and I would expect the 3rd Edition April 2013 to be used to inform the assessment.

Policy considerations

The new Draft Local Plan is due for submission this Friday. The following Policies should be considered with regard to this planning application:

Strategy 3- Sustainable Development Strategy
3 a) Conserving and Enhancing the Environment - which includes ensuring development is undertaken in a way that minimises harm and enhances biodiversity and the quality and character of the landscape.

Strategy 5 - Environment:
All development proposals will contribute to the delivery of sustainable development, ensure conservation and enhancement of natural and built environmental assets, promote ecosystem services and green infrastructure and geodiversity.

4) Minimising the fragmentation of habitats, creation of new habitats and connection of existing areas to create an ecological network that is identified within the East Devon
District Council Local Biodiversity Plan;
5) Progress towards delivering the Biodiversity Action Plan targets and Local Nature
Reserve Strategy;
Where there is no conflict with biodiversity interests, the enjoyment and use of the natural environment will be encouraged and all proposals should seek to encourage public access to the countryside.

Strategy 7 - Development in the Countryside
The countryside is defined as all those parts of the plan area that are outside the Built-up Area Boundaries and outside of site specific allocations shown on the Proposals Map. Development in the countryside will only be permitted where it is in accordance with a specific Local Plan policy that explicitly permits such development and where it would not harm the distinctive landscape, amenity and environmental qualities within which it is located, including:
1. Land form and patterns of settlement.
2. Important natural and manmade features which contribute to the local landscape character, including topography, traditional field boundaries, areas of importance for nature conservation and rural buildings.
3. The adverse disruption of a view from a public place which forms part of the distinctive character of the area or otherwise causes significant visual intrusions.

Background

The site is located just over 300 metres from the East Devon AONB. The scale of development and form of 'change in use' proposed is considered to be significant and justifies the Councils concern for ensuring the application assesses the impacts accurately.


East Devon District Councils Landscape Character Assessment & Management Guidelines 2008

The site is located within Landscape Character Type (LCT) 3B LOWER ROLLING FARMED AND SETTLED SLOPES
The key characteristics to consider with regard to this application have been highlighted in bold -
o Gently rolling landform, sloping up from valley floor
o Variable size fields with wide, low boundaries and irregular pattern
o Pastoral land use, often with wooded appearance
o Many hedgerow trees, copses and streamside tree rows
o Settled, with varied building ages, styles and settlement size
o Much use of stone as building material
o Winding, often sunken lanes
o Streams and ditches
o Tranquil and intimate

Settlement and development: conserve and enhance by
1. Ensuring that any development contributes to local distinctiveness and assists integration of settlements within the landscape by the use of indigenous species.



Theoretical Zone of Visual Influence




The image above shows the theoretical zones of visual influence from two locations within the proposed site and provides a useful baseline with regard to the local topography.
The image does not take account of the extensive hedgebanks, hedgerow trees and areas of woodland but informs potential viewpoints. These important features will help screen the proposed scheme and must be accounted for as an integral part of the overall application. A detailed management plan (Arboricultural, Biodiversity and Landscape) should be submitted for approval prior to commencement.
A winter time assessment is particularly important for applications of this scale as vegetation is predominantly deciduous in this part of East Devon.








Site Assessment photographs:

Photograph 1 - illustrates the low hedgebanks on the western boundary of Field E

Photograph 2 is taken close to the highest point of the proposed site in Field E. The properties along the Rockbeare road are clearly visible from this location. The existing vegetation provides a considerably effective screen when in leaf.

Photograph 3 from Field A indicates clear views to Houndbeare Farm Barns to the north east. The vegetation around the field offers a solid screen when the vegetation is in leaf but it is quite likely that during winter months the entire field is visible (for approximately 4-5 months).

Photograph 4 is of Field B and illustrates the sloping land, variation in field size and Furzy Copse providing a substantial screen on the northern and eastern boundaries.



Recommendation

The application is not considered to be acceptable in its current form.

If development is allowed in the western part of field C and all of Field E it is potentially visible, in particular in the winter time.
Given these concerns additional information is required:
i) consider reduction in the overall site area (Field E and western part of Field C)
ii) undertake further assessment work to confirm the degree of visual impact (in particular from Rockbeare Road) with photographic evidence during winter months and include photomontages of year 1 and after 10 years
iii) revise proposals to incorporate additional mitigation and biodiversity enhancement to overcome these concerns, including re-considering extent of panels and locations of fencing with regard to exiting trees and hedgerows.

A detailed Landscape Scheme accompanied by a detailed Management Plan (Arboriculture, Biodiversity and Landscape) should be submitted to ensure the scheme proposals address the Councils wider 'sustainable development' concerns.



Further Information
1. Landscape Character Assessment & Management Guidelines - eMap, http://emap/general/viewer.htm and open "countryside "and then "landscape character"
2. East Devon AONB Management Strategywww.eastdevonaonb.org.uk/publications.asp
3. Devon County Council Landscape Character Areas Assessment http://www.devon.gov.uk/index/environmentplanning/natural_environment/landscape/devon-character-areas/dca-east-devon.htm


Meant to say if the applicant for Aylesbeare Solar PV 13/1390/MFUL is not already aware of the DCC Advice Note 2 I have attached it for consideration - and would recommend that the applicant assesses their scheme with regard to this guidance.



Adjoining Parish

Comment Date: Mon 05 Aug 2013

Planning application 13/1390 - Solar Farm at Great Houndbeare Farm
Rockbeare Parish Council Comments
The Parish Council considers that the proposal, which is mostly on the boundary of our parish with feeder cables to the substation being in the parish, should be refused for the following reasons.
1. It is a misuse of good farming land. A local farmer advises that this land is good quality agricultural land. We understand that the classification suggested by the applicant as being grade 3B is unreliable as DEFRA accept that such classifications cover a broad area and are not field specific. We understand that the quality of the land is better than that claimed by the applicant. We need to grow as much food as we can within our islands and not to surrender good agricultural land to solar farms.
2. Government policy in this area seems somewhat ambivalent. However in a recent letter from Gregory Barker MP, Minister of State at the Department of Energy & Climate Change, to Hugo Swire MP he states "The Department has a strong preference to see larger scale solar PV installations developed on large roofs and brownfield land". Clearly this is not the case here. Gregory Barker also goes on to say "it is important that developers take account of local opinion and protect the local environment, including taking account of visual amenity and land use."
3. We note that the proposed solar farm will be directly beneath the flight path for incoming aircraft - particularly light aircraft - seeking to land at Exeter airport. We are concerned that the installation could dazzle and/or seriously distract pilots at a critical point in their approach to the runway with potential for disastrous consequences. We observe that according to the EDDC website Exeter Airport has not been consulted on this application which appears to be an omission.
4. It is noted that the flood risk report shows that Marsh Green is susceptible to flooding. The PC is well aware of this with now regular flooding in Marsh Green and further downstream in Rockbeare. The proposal will create a large impervious area which will accelerate run off rates in times of rain, especially heavy rain, and is thus likely to increase flood risk. We understand that the company behind the application is now aware of this but at a meeting with local residents advised that they were not intending to do anything about it. Furthermore the report commissioned by the company and submitted with their application simply covers the status quo with the land and does not address the impact of the development itself on local flood risk which is of great concern.
5. Some residents, particularly those living close to the proposed solar farm and the route for the cables from the solar farm to the local substation are concerned that they may suffer electrical interference arising from fluctuations in current from the solar farm. Furthermore we are not clear from the submission whether the cable from the solar farm to the substation is to be buried or overground. We much prefer an underground cable.
6. We note that these developments are subsidised by the taxpayer and/or energy user. This places those having to live with them as neighbours in a lose-lose situation - we both live close to them and have to pay for them.
7. We understand that the term of any agreement between the provider (Cherry Solar) and the landowner is a fixed period - maybe 25 years. If notwithstanding the objections, EDDC is minded to grant planning consent they should impose a requirement to remove panels and restore land to its current agricultural use at the end of the period. Gregory Barker MP and the DECC support the use of such conditions.
8. We are concerned that there are already at least two such installations approved and in place in this area and there are proposals for many more. There has to be a limit on the extent of these solar farms otherwise East Devon will be carpeted with them to the detriment of the area and its residents and its attraction as a tourist destination. We also note that there will be a 2.4m high metal fence surrounding the site which itself will be an eyesore.
9. There is concern at the fire risk these installations carry. We understand that a solar farm in Teignbridge recently experienced a fire that the Fire Service was unwilling to extinguish because of the risks to the firemen of electrocution - presumably as a result of the electricity being continuously generated on site. We understand that there is standing advice to fire services to this effect because of the problems associated with these installations. In addition we understand that in the event of the panels igniting they give off highly toxic fumes which can drift to nearby settlements. We further observe that fire service response times to this rural location would be substantial.
10. We ask the EDDC to note that the precise locations of the solar panels have changed markedly since the proposal was first publicised in November 2012. Therefore the comments made by various consultants in support of the application may apply to areas other than those now the subject of the proposal; this could affect the validity of those comments. We assume that the planning officers will be alive to these changes and their consequences.
11. We have noted and support the objections raised by the CPRE and also DCC as highway authority who recommend refusal on highway safety grounds.
For the reasons given above we ask East Devon District Council to refuse planning consent for this proposal.



Comment Date: Thu 01 Aug 2013

Rockbeare Parish Council is extremely concerned about the above the planning application, whilst we appreciate that it is not in Rockbeare parish it is very close to the parish boundary and we would be grateful if you could keep us informed of anychanges to the application, particularly any material changes such as a change in the point of access.

Broadclyst - Cllr P Bowden

Comment Date: Tue 30 Jul 2013

This application is attracting enormous public interest. I hope that will ensure that it is decided by the full development management committee,
Derek Button

Environmental Health

Comment Date: Mon 29 Jul 2013

This developement will be a large scale temporary construction site if approval is recommended, with the potential to impact on residents of the surrounding area quite considerably. I note that no Drainage report has been submitted and I consider that this is essential given the indication in the GroundSure report that this is a high flood risk area with historical flooding, notwithstanding the advice of the EA. The construction operation alone has considerable potential to displace surface waters onto surrounding land and roads if not managed appropriately. I therefore recommend that a full Drainage assessment is submitted prior to determination, and that a Construction Management Plan is required by condition if approved. Furthermore, working hours including deliveries should be restricted to standard construction site hours - Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm, and, in view of the substantial size of delivery vehicles and very close proximity of a sizeable community, no weekend working. Suitable conditions are:

A Construction Management Plan must be submitted and approved by the Local Planning Authority prior to any works commencing on site, and shall be implemented and remain in place throughout the construction process. The CMP shall include at least the following matters : Dust, Surface Water Drainage, Lighting, Noise and Vibration, and Monitoring Arrangements. Construction and Delivery working hours shall be 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday with no working at weekends or on Bank Holidays. There shall be no burning on site. There shall be no high frequency audible reversing alarms used on the site at any time, either by main contractor, sub-contractor or hire vehicles.
Reason: To protect the amenities of existing and residents in the vicinity of the site from noise, air, water and light pollution during construction.


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