The Landmark Practice is pleased to have secured a planning permission at appeal for a solar park at Aller Court, Somerset. On behalf of clients British Solar Renewables Limited and the developer (Aller Court Solar Park and Andrew Maltby), Landmark appealed against the decision of South Somerset District Council. The single reason for refusal of the application scheme focused on the harm of the development on the landscape character of the area, which the Council felt was in conflict with Development Plan Policies and the NPPF.

Landmark’s planning and landscape teams represented the appellants at a Hearing in February. Informed by the Hearing, discussions with Council representatives and members of the public, and a subsequent site visit, the Inspector determined that the scheme would have only a moderate impact on the landscape character of the area, and allowed the appeal.

The Inspector gave weight to the benefits of renewable energy, including the reduction of carbon emissions and biodiversity enhancements, and concluded that the benefits of the scheme clearly outweighed the temporary harm to the landscape character.  Planning permission was therefore granted.

This successful consent at planning appeal is not typical of recent appeal decisions for solar developments.  Since the ministerial announcements of 22 June 2015, which signalled the Government’s pullback from renewable energy commitments that the included major subsidy cuts, which has caused significant harm to the solar industry, there has been a trend for dismissal at solar PV planning appeals. We are therefore pleased that the Inspector’s conclusion gave weight to the benefits of renewable energy generation, and decided that they outweighed the limited temporary impact on the local landscape character.

The permitted solar park represents a sustainable development that will make a valuable contribution to cutting greenhouse gas emissions and will deliver both energy from a renewable source, and substantial ecological benefits, during its 25 year lifespan.

For more information about this appeal, or any of our development planning services, please contact Tim Pearce tim,