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Thousands of Solar PV Panels planned for Bleadon Fields

Posted on 26th May, 2013

 

APPLICATION IS REFUSED -  Please see below for a copy of the official North Somerset Unitary Authority Planning Notice of Decision, Delegated Officers Report and also an interesting article by Martin Hesp (West Country Life) suggesting an alternative solution. Many thanks to those who passed BOB the information

 

North Somerset Notice of Decision on Solar Farm Planning ApplicationArticle on an alternative solution to Solar FarmsSolar Farm Application NS Planning Delegated Report

 Please also note North Somerset Solar PV Policy Consultation ENDS 29th August 2013. Click for more details

 

and other new energy companies are also trying other North Somerset areas see this Weston Mercury article


 

 

STOP PRESS - Further to this new Weston Mercury report, BOB has been informed that residents of Purn Road (Bleadon Hill) that overlook the site and approximately 60 others have received notices of a further 28 day consultation period, due to lack of information. All residents overlooking the proposed site and some villagers close by, have been sent a letter this time informing them of the exact address and given a further 28 days from 18th June to respond (ENDS 16th JULY). The planning number is 13/P/0854/F2 (link below) So there may still be time for you to comment on this application. (24/6/13 update - Mercury report confirms information)

Also see this link for minutes of 10th June 2013,Bleadon Parish Council Planning Committee meeting.

 

32,000 panel Solar PV Farm planned - Comments to North Somerset by 19th June 2013 

 

Solar farm

I thought you might be interested in the large solar photovoltaic array application on the land past Purn, on the left and adjacent to A370 toward Weston-super-Mare. Click here for Weston Mercury report

 

Here is a statement on Solar Arrays from Mendip Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

 

The full details for this application, reference 13/P/0854/F2, are available online at North Somerset website, please see here http://wam.n-somerset.gov.uk/MULTIWAM/showCaseFile.do;jsessionid=149438FBC3AB9CE664300FF5EF4386B9?action=show&appType=Planning&appNumber=13/P/0854/F2

 

Although this all says South Hill Farm, the land is not near the main farm buildings or land currently subject to proposed PROW diversions, so it is unclear if the landowner is actually the same. Here is a link to the applicants (Energi PLC) website. and the Agent (ADAS Ltd.) website.

 

A historic smaller area proposal for 22,000 panels was made in January 2011 as can been seen in this article from the Bristol Evening Post published at that time at http://www.thisisbristol.co.uk/Solar-park-22-000-panels-placed-25-acre-site/story-11300568-detail/story.html#axzz2UPgNktoj. The associated 'screening opinion' application 11/P/0021/EIA1 to North Somerset in 2011 with comments can be seen at http://wam.n-somerset.gov.uk/MULTIWAM/showCaseFile.do;jsessionid=149438FBC3AB9CE664300FF5EF4386B9?action=show&appType=Planning&appNumber=11/P/0021/EIA1

 

Comments on the current application can be made to North Somerset by 19th June 2013 via the link provided on the application online (as above) or via http://wam.n-somerset.gov.uk/MULTIWAM/createComment.do;jsessionid=72E95F69CF8C9B7EB60E196D5070E1F2?action=CreateApplicationComment&applicationType=PLANNING&appNumber=13/P/0854/F2 or you may prefer to email dccomments@n-somerset.gov.uk

 

Big Solar Farm scheme in Hampshire on 'brownfield' site and Wedmore Community Solar Scheme

 

If you would like to be informed directly via email of future BOB posts please use our contact form.

 

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Comments (7)

Dear MP & Local North Somerset Councillors,

Please see below our comments sent to North Somerset Planning for your urgent consideration.

It is our understanding that Bleadon Parish Council passed this application with consultation to only one overlooking street in the village when clearly it will affect a much wider and greater public area. This consultation approach may also be happening in other neighbouring parishes and villages and, although North Somerset have just started a PV consultation, there is a feeling that the Somerset and Bleadon Levels could be destroyed through lack of timely and urgent forward planning and policy at local, regional and national levels. These issues and concerns may escalate as energy companies continue to target and approach land owners with irresistible rent offers that we are informed are significantly greater than what they receive for farming or agriculture.

We congratulate North Somerset on their production of policy guidance for commercial Solar PV Arrays but Is there any cross-council communication with neighbouring authorities such as Somerset County Council and Sedgemoor District Council for these type of applications affecting our shared open spaces?

Finally, how do these solar array applications for energy generation fit in with developments such as Hinkley Point which appear to have an even greater environmental impact on the local area yet are backed by government?

Dear North Somerset Planning,

We would like to ensure that the Bleadon Parish Environment, including nature and wildlife sites, continues to be protected, including those under the existing constraints and policies in North Somerset Core Strategy documents, and that the fields remain as they are wherever possible. We are also concerned that night time light pollution will occur from this application as well as loss of views from Purn Hill (SSSI) and surrounding areas e.g. Brent Knoll.

We are concerned that there has been some confusion to residents as to the location of this application due to the addressing of the site, with South Hill Farm being nowhere near this land and so may not have commented.

How can Somerset make a decision on this application for 32,000 PV solar panels in Bleadon before it has undertaken and finished its guidance consultation on PV array policy for North Somerset due to end 12 July 2013?

Please can you confirm whether a future referendum yielding 50% of electorate in agreement is needed for this type of neighbourhood development plan to proceed e.g. under The Localism Act 2011. Are potential developers presentations to the public considered referendums?

If the scheme proceeds, how much of this electricity generated will be afforded to local residents? Some energy companies (e.g. Good Energy) allow cheaper tariffs to those who live in the area producing the energy, this at least would be some small compensation for the loss of local views.

Please also see the comments posted on this village website blog page, hopefully these have also been submitted directly to you.

The 2005 Bleadon Village/Parish Plan questionnaire by Bleadon Parish Council led by various working groups, produced results from public consultation for a 20 year plan on how the electorate wished Bleadon to develop. Can you therefore confirm that the existing 2005 Plan and Data will also be used as consultation material for this current planning application process? More information can be seen at http://www.bleadon.org.uk/parishplan

Given the expense of this process, I believe these results should also be considered with any major planning application/development that may affect the residents of Bleadons stated wishes. As you can see from the results, there is a clear majority that wants to maintain the countryside and views that would be affected by this Solar Farm proposal. Please find specific statistical results and comments from links off this page http://www.bleadon.org.uk/parishplan.html#Environment
Although I support solar arrays in principle I am unable to support this particular application. It is far too large and would damage the visual amenity of the area especially when seen from the higher ground of the adjacent AONB. The parish of Bleadon has a unique combination of levels and hills and it is important that this very special landscape is preserved by ensuring the levels retain their agricultural character. If the size of the proposed site were reduced to something a lot smaller I would be prepared to look at the idea again.
Get dem panels in!

My doll money dont pay the bills as it tis. I wants cheaper electrick .

no 1 likes walking these days anyway.
I am absolutely disgusted to hear of this proposal. Bleadon is in my opinion the last place in North Somerset to be basically untouched by modern eye sores. My family history in Bleadon goes back generations and I hope to one day return to Bleadon to raise my own family here in what in my opinion is the most beautiful and picturesque and unspoilt village/area in North Somerset.

Please do not ruin this area, there are so many people who love it and do not want it's charm and tradition lost. It is frankly heart wrenching to hear that this is even being considered, so I urge anyone to feels strongly to speak up.

Bleadon needs to be maintained as it is, and if anything further returned into an even more traditional village, building more on it's character of old, rather than dragging it into the present kicking, screaming, and blotted.

Andrew Harvey