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12/2410/MFUL | Solar farm (22ha) comprising the erection of solar arrays, inverters, transformers, equipment housing, security fencing, internal tracks and ancillary equipment | Land Opposite Woodcote National Substation Hawkchurch Devon
  • Total Consulted: 47
  • Comments Received: 27
  • Objections: 27
  • Supporting: 0

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Mr A Pollard (Objects)

Comment submitted date: Thu 07 Mar 2013

Dear EDDC
I have some concerns regarding new plans
Economic considerations should not be used as an excuse to damage the local amenity , how come the development at Newlands is viable which is smaller and only 2 panels high
The aerial photo submitted clearly illustrates the over development of solar parks in the local area
The ponds are at the top of the field . why not at the bottom to help collect run off
Is the digging of the ponds not just a cynical attempt to obtain cheap material for the proposed hedge banks?
As reported on local press the developer has already caused extensive damage to the most important acid grassland site in Dorset which was of national ecological value
Do East Devon Planning Authority have the will or resources to control this developer
Why has Devon CC footpaths officer not commented when 3 rights of way are directly affected?
How will walkers on the Monarchs Way be protected from site traffic at the narrow blind gateway which accesses the most westerly fields
To widen this gateway would damage one of the extensive badger setts on site and would of course be illegal

Comment submitted date: Wed 21 Nov 2012

The concerntration of the solar farms is far too great for the area leading to loss of amenity
The panels are too high and will be seen from road by everyone who visits the area
Danger of water run off and errosion has not been properly addressed
The protection of the badger sett is a legal rquirement and has not been properly addressed
The impact on the 2 rights of way across the site is too great . The Monarchs Way will become a tunnel of solar at this point
The company SPGL have shown no regard for planning conditions set by WDDC at Wyld Meadow and have now to reaaply for planning under a section 73

Mrs Lisa Taylor (Objects)

Comment submitted date: Thu 07 Mar 2013

I would like to maintain and add to my earlier objections :
The proposal is contrary to:
The Devon Structure Plan - Policy CO14 Conserving Agricultural Land and Policy CO12 Renewable Energy Development.
There is not an over-riding demand or proven need for this development which outweighs the need to protect the landscape.
There are no grounds for the positioning of thi site in this area.
The proposal is contrary to the EDDC Local Plan.
This area has already been adversely overwhelmed with excessive new inappropriate developments.
As there are other solar farms in close proximity this should not be a reason or an excuse for another one.
With regard to the applicant's supporting letter dated 22 February 2013 I would like to make the following points:
1. "Enhancements of hedgerows surrounding the application site (within the applicant's ownership) by filling in gaps...." Does the applicant, SPGL (now BSR Ltd) own any of the hedgerows?
2. How can the applicant guarantee screening from boundaries that are not in the landowner's ownership?
4. Flood Risk - Listen to people who have lived in the area for over 40 years. The Environment Agency has proved itself as to the Hawkwell drainage problems so I think the fact that they have raised no objections could be questionable. The Environmental Health's comments of the 22 November 2012 regarding surface water should not be ignored.
Other observations :
1. The Monarch's Way footpath in the eastern field will be in jeopardy of being constantly obstructed from works traffic crossing over it. This footpath should remain unimpeded at all times.
2. At a time when its being suggested we should be producing more home grown food in this country it is not appropriate that agrilcultural land is being threatened by needless, unwanted, unviable developments such as this. Farmland is just as important to our future as green energy.
3. Visibility coming out of Pound Road on to the B3165 at Portobello Cross will be compromised.
4. Clarification should be sought to confirm responsibility for compliance with the planning conditions and agreements, especially for decommissioning the site in the future. Will these responsibilities be retained by the applicant or will the responsibility pass to their subsidiary company Stonebarrow Farm Solar Park Ltd and if both of these companies fail who picks up the bill for remocing the solar park?
5. Usual reports and surveys - of course it will not affect the wildlife, of course it's low grade agricultural land, of course it will have low visual impact, of course sheep can still graze underneath, of course - these reports are going to be in favour of the company who is paying for them.
6. As the proposed site is in close proximity to residentail properties and a holiday park, information shoul be requested as to the noise produced by the inverter and transformer units. Bearing in mind the other solar parks in the area and the substation, information is needed to ensure the noise does not exceed an acceptable level at the nearest properties at any time.
7. Lacking in detail on how the protected species are going to be preserved.
8. The proposed position of the "internal tracks" are not shown on the plans.
9. Factual evidence reveals the applicant does not respect planning conditions. Please do not allow them to make a mockery out of planning yet again by getting their toes in the door enabling them to upscale their development with a retrospective application in the near future.
This proposal would cause serious over development in this area and should be refused.

Mr and Mrs R Taylor

Mr M Thimbleby (Objects)

Comment submitted date: Wed 06 Mar 2013

See letter under document tab on our website

Mr Peter Taylor (Objects)

Comment submitted date: Tue 05 Mar 2013

We would like to add to our earlier objection :
We are most concerned regarding the over development along the B3165 taking into account the other solar farms - Beechgrove, Wyld Meadow and Newlands all within a 1 mile stretch. Enough is enough.
We were in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty but this has now been ruined by solar farm developments.
As work was not carried out as proposed by the same applicant at Wyld Meadow who is to say this will not happen again. This proposal would need a tremendous amount of screening. It would be just another eyesore along the Dorset/Devon border.
These revised plans do not adequately address the run off issue as in our earlier objection.
The damage this proposed site will cause to the landscape far exceeds any benefit.
The Government's incentive scheme to increase solar power is primarily for home owners to encourage production and use locally - not for developers to ransack the countryside to the detriment of the landscape and the people who live here.
More details are needed from the applicant on how the barren wasteland will be returned to agricultural land and who will carry out this task if the company should fail.
Is there a need for another solar park in this area?
This proposal goes against the EDDC Local Plan - Conserving and enhancing the environment.
The probable reduction in PV efficiency would lead to misuse of precious agricultural land.

Mr and Mrs P Taylor

Mrs M Darch (Objects)

Comment submitted date: Sun 03 Mar 2013

Although we are not opposed to solar farms if sympathetically sited, we object to this proposed installation as the concentration of solar sites in this area of outstanding beauty is now too great and is adversely transforming the nature of the surrounding countryside.
The site already installed by the Applicant at Wyld Meadow is the subject of much controversy owing to its contravention of planning permission. The latter was granted for panels at a height of 2.2m but they have constructed them at a height of 3m which now obstruct the wonderful views of the coastline from the Crewkerne Road on which local tourism and thus employment depend.
The Applicant is currently submitting a section 73 retrospective application in a cynical manipulation of the planning system for the Wyld Meadow site and therefore has demonstrated that they cannot be trusted to adhere to any conditions stipulated in planning permission.

Mrs K Spector (Objects)

Comment submitted date: Fri 01 Mar 2013

The principle of too many solar farms in the naturally beautiful erea around Hawkchurch remains.
This revised application gives us no confidence whatsoever of any environmental improvement since the company involved has a track record of not abiding to previous planning consent they have had (eg The Wyld Meadow site) which now has solar panels blighting the beautiful view fron the B3165 in contravention of the original planning consent.
Please have the wisdom to balance the need for natural energy with the crucial importance of preserving the natural beauty of the area we live in.

Mr P Smith (Objects)

Comment submitted date: Thu 28 Feb 2013

This revised application MUST be refused for little has changed to alter the reasons given in earlier objections.

In addition to those reasons, you should be aware that the applicant has a very poor history of non-compliance with planning conditions. If you make enquiries of colleagues in other districts you will discover that this company's standard method of operation on many solar sites in the south west is to obtain planning permission and then deliberately construct differently from its application documents and plans.

When challenged, it then submits a section 73 retrospective application in a cynical manipulation of the planning system.

The rural nature of the countryside around Hawkchurch, on the edge of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty so beloved by tourists upon whom the local economy depends, is rapidly being transformed into an industrial landscape which is already excessively overdeveloped and cannot take any more.

Their site at Wyld Meadow is already a scar on the area and the subject of much contraversy over its blatant planning contraventions. (Permission was granted for panels at a height of 2.2m but they have constructed them at a height of 3m which now obliterate the wonderful views of the coastline from the Crewkerne Road plus numerous other building contraventions).

You cannot trust any statement or promise from the officers of this company. You should also be aware that certain 'Directors' of this company attempt to convey an impression that they are experienced in running large solar parks which is untrue.

Their statement that the land is not lost to food production as it can be grazed by sheep has been disproved by existing solar parks where the grass becomes so devoid of sunlight and nutrients that sheep are unable to graze. In view of recent statements from large supermarket chains that they will be sourcing more meat from home producers this area needs MORE beef producing land not less.

If you approve this application then you will have committed a grave error and you will be sending a message to your constituents that you have no intention of observing your own planning policies in protecting the countryside.

Mr & Mrs W And M Stead (Objects)

Comment submitted date: Thu 28 Feb 2013

OBJECTION
Subject: 12/2410/MFUL - Land Opposite Woodcote National Substation
Hawkchurch Devon
We object most strongly to yet another solar project in Hawkchurch
To quote from your own Planning leaflet just arrived :
" The impact of the development on the rural character of the area " would be totally unacceptable and completely foreign
There are already three solar developments in Hawkchuch, on the Devon/Dorset borders, and that we consider too much
To suggest grazing can take place in the fields under the panels is well proven to be impossible, as the grass is quickly virtually dead and cannot be reached to be fertilised
The company concerned has already demonstrated that it ignores Planning permission details , such as the height of panels, as at Wyld Meadow and other sites ,which have desecrated the rural area..?enough is enough

Mr J Tennant (Objects)

Comment submitted date: Sat 23 Feb 2013

The Monarch┐s Way Association

The Monarch┐s Way is a nationally promoted 615 mile long distance footpath which follows the escape of King Charles II after his defeat at the Battle of Worcester in 1651. The aims of The Monarch┐s Way Association are to promote a knowledge of the Way: to further the historical knowledge of those times: to establish an informal stewardship of the Way: to advise local highway authorities of footpath maintenance issues and to establish and maintain links with like minded organisations.

Email: Contact@monarchsway.50megs.comVisit our Web Site at: www.monarchsway.50megs.com

J.E.Tennant
212 Hucclecote Road
Gloucester
Gloucestershire
GL3 3SL

20th February 2013


East Team
Planning Department
East Devon District Council
Knowle
Sidmouth
EX10 8HL

Dear Sirs

12/2410/MFUL | Solar farm (22ha) comprising the erection of solar arrays, inverters, transformers, equipment housing, security fencing, internal tracks and ancillary equipment | Land Opposite Woodcote National Substation Hawkchurch Devon

The above mentioned planning application has been brought to our attention and as a consequence we wish to comment upon it.

The Association note that there are several accepted planning applications of this type in the local area. Several of these have not yet started building work and already we have a new application. This is one step too far. It is usually pointed out by authors of planning applications that because another planning application of this type in the locality has been passed, that is grounds for allowing another. The Monarch┐s way Association takes a very different view, which is if a planning application for a solar park has been passed nearby then that is sufficient grounds for refusing further applications on the basis of overdevelopment. East Devon has a wonderful reputation for scenery and many tourists come to enjoy that. There is a real danger that East Devon will have a very different reputation.
This proposal surrounds the route of The Monarch┐s Way the longest inland footpath at 615 miles in length. This historical route follows very closely the escape route of the future King Charles II after his defeat in the Battle of Worcester in 1651. The proposal is partly on slightly higher ground which will make it more difficult to shield. The Association realize that the applicant will claim that it can be made almost invisible to passing walkers; however it will still look different in the naturally evolved landscape that many visitors come to enjoy.
Walking The Monarch┐s Way in this area will be a thoroughly unpleasant experience, at best it will involve walking through a narrow corridor surrounded by artificially created hedgerows beyond which are metal barriers and usually surveillance cameras.

The Monarch┐s Way Association has over the past year made huge progress on publicising the route, with flyers sent to every Tourist Information Centre along its 615 miles. We have had 15,000 visitors to our web site since March 2012. The Associations long term aim is for The Monarch┐s Way to be designated as a National Trail, it would be a shame for part of the route to be blighted by over use of Solar Parks in East Devon. Tourism should be very important to Devon, particularly during this period of austerity. The Monarch's way Association suspect that many local businesses rely on their source of income from visitors whether they are walkers or simply people enjoying the countryside.

The Monarch┐s Way Association is against this additional Solar Park and request that the application is refused on the basis that landscape and local distinctiveness (character) key issues of concern would be lost if the application is approved.
The proposal fails on C6: As there is significant adverse impact upon the surrounding landscape and features and also upon a long distance footpath which commemorates an important historical event.

The Monarch┐s Way Association fully support the comments made by the Campaign to Protect Rural England.

Finally the Association was very disappointed to find that it was not consulted on the original application as it is the sponsoring body of The Monarchs Way.

Yours sincerely

John Tennant (General Manager The Monarchs Way Association)

Comment submitted date: Sat 23 Feb 2013

Dear Sir,

I am John Tennant General Manager of The Monarch's Way Association. I wish to put you under notice that I intend to object to this planning proposal.
It will severely impact upon the route of The Monarch's Way. Futher comments will follow.

Regards

John Tennant

Mrs E Fatiaki (Objects)

Comment submitted date: Fri 07 Dec 2012

There has been a large amount of agricultural diversification and development of agricultural land around the area of Hawkchurch over the years for other purposes, including the Axminster substation, caravan sites, industrial units, housing and now 136 acres of solar parks, when will it be seen as overdevelopment. It is well known within the local community how these developments have caused additional water runoff and flooding around the village.

I am worried about water runoff from the site. Acres of panels will reduce the natural runoff capacity of these fields. SPGL have said that they will counter this by providing a series of scrapes and swales throughout the site which should hold water until is soaks away. My primary concern is that their assessment along with other parts of the planning application is rather incomplete. They freely admit that no percolation tests have been carried out at the site and therefore probably do not realise the area is predominantly clay meaning there is virtually no soak away. In addition to this their proposed drainage system does not even run along the contours of the field so rather than holding water it will just act as channels moving water off the site more quickly. From the fields immediately surrounding our property this means both onto the Wareham road and onto our property where with our fields also clay it will continue to run strait off onto the B3165, both roads of which already have problems with flooding and standing water.

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