Thursday, January 9, 2014
A 26-acre solar farm on the edge of Exmouth has been rubber-stamped by East Devon District Council, despite many councillors who approved it speaking out against the scheme.
The new facility will occupy three fields at Liverton Farm for 25 years.
Landowner Clinton Devon Estates says it will generate enough electricity to power more than 1,000 homes a year, and will provide renewable energy for its Liverton Two business park, but tenant farmer Bruce Ellett says it will threaten his cattle farming business.
Members of EDDC’s development management committee, which ruled on the plan this week, said they sympathised with Mr Ellett, and many spoke of their opposition to the solar farm.
However, because they felt they had no grounds under planning legislation to refuse it, they were forced to grant permission.
Councillor Mike Howe said: “I hate this. I hate solar panels … but in planning terms I cannot see any justification to refuse it.”
Councillor Mike Allen said: “I do detest the loss of 26 acres of agricultural land. I can’t see a reason for not approving this on planning considerations and I regret that, as I think it is an inappropriate use of agricultural land, and I always have done.”