German developer juwi has had its plans for a solar farm in mid-Devon thrown out on appeal.
A planning inspector upheld Mid-Devon District Council’s decision last year to reject the project, near the village of Morebath, because of its likely impact on the landscape.
Before its appeal, juwi had sought to decrease the size of the project from its original 5.7MW to 5.1MW and therefore the area of land that it would cover.
However, the inspector, Brian Cook, this week concluded that the slight reduction in the size of the project would be insufficient to address the concerns of objectors over its visual impact.
“In my judgement the development would have a significant adverse impact upon the way the local community appreciate the character and visual quality of the landscape within which Morebath is set,” the inspector said in his report.
This would put it at odds with local planning policy, which seeks to minimise the visual impact of renewable energy developments.
However, the inspector also ordered the council to partially pay juwi’s costs because of “unreasonable behaviour” on the part of the authority in its handling of certain aspects of the appeal process.
A council spokesman said: “We are pleased that the Planning Inspector has upheld our planning committee’s decision not to allow a large solar farm in this beautiful part of Mid Devon. We receive many applications for solar farms and the planning committee deals with each application on its individual merits: some are granted, others not.”
On the inspector’s costs decision, the spokesman added: “We feel that we acted reasonably throughout the process, but acknowledge with disappointment that the Planning Inspector took a different view.”
Juwi refused to comment on the decision.