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Liverton solar farm backed by planners

09:00 04 January 2014

Plans to build a large solar farm on the edge of Exmouth have received the backing of district planning officers.

The scheme, which has been put forward by Clinton Devon Estates, would see the new facility installed on land to the north of Liverton Farm in Salterton Road.

The facility would cover three fields, with the solar arrays themselves covering 40 per cent of the 10.6 hectare site, which is agricultural land currently used for grazing livestock.

It would be expected to produce 4.1 MW of electricity a year, which could be used by businesses in the neighbouring Liverton Business Park and its Liverton Two expansion.

Clinton Devon Estates previously said it had considered building wind turbines on the site, but felt these would be too intrusive.

The solar scheme has previously been opposed by Exmouth Town Council, which says the plan would be: intrusive to neighbours; unsuitable near an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB); not sustainable; and an undesirable industrial development of a rural area.

The plan has also raised fears for the future of agriculture at Liverton Farm.

However, it is members of East Devon District Council’s (EDDC) development management committee (DMC) which will have the final say on the proposal, and ahead of that committee’s meeting on Tuesday, EDDC’s planning department has produced a report saying the plan should go ahead, citing local and national support for renewable energy.

The report states: “There is substantial support for the provision of renewable energy with the National Planning Policy Framework and East Devon Local Plan and as such the principle of development is acceptable.

“The development would be viewed from a limited number of viewpoints through field gates on Salterton Road and from the access road to Liverton Two and there would be very limited views from a small part of the nearby AONB.

“Such limited views are considered to be acceptable and do not justify refusal of planning permission.

“There are two residential properties within the farm and two nearby 
properties on Salterton Road that would view the development. Subject to [conditions], there will be no significant detrimental impact upon the amenity of these residents that could justify refusal of planning permission.”

The DMC will meet at the Knowle in Sidmouth, on Tuesday, January 7, at 2pm.

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