Solar farm threatened with dismantling given Court of Appeal reprieve

Developers of a solar farm that last year had its planning permission quashed by the High Court have been given a reprieve at the Court of Appeal.

In March last year the High Court ruled that a 22-hectare solar farm, developed by Norrington Solar Farm Limited and SunEdison yieldco TerraForm Power, had been unlawfully granted planning permission.

Mr Justice Dove quashed the planning permission and requested that Wiltshire Council reconsider its application after Daniel Gerber, owner of a nearby Grade II-listed building, claimed he had not been made aware of the development prior to construction.

Gerber also claimed that Wiltshire Council had failed to consult with English Heritage, leading Justice Dove to conclude that the council had committed a “clear legal error”.

At the hearing the farm’s operators warned that quashing planning permission would cost them £1.5 million to restore the site and result in them losing the original £10.5 million investment, however the decision stood.

Later that month TerraForm confirmed its intention to appeal the “unfavourable outcome”, and yesterday Lord Justice Sales reversed the High Court’s decision after ruling that Gerber had left it too long to challenge the farm’s development.

The Court of Appeal also concluded that the council had made efforts to inform residents of the original planning permission, placing notices at prominent places around Broughton Gifford and placed confirmation in the local newspaper.

Both Wiltshire Council and Terraform Power had yet to respond to requests for comment at the time of publication.