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Solar farm approved after accommodating historic home fears

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: February 28, 2013

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A solar farm promising to provide enough power for hundreds of homes has been given the go-ahead after fears were resolved over its impact on a historic property.

The 6,800-panel ground- mounted solar array will cover more than four hectares of land on Luson Farm near Ivybridge in Devon, generating

up to 1.9MW of electricity to power 575 households.

Concerns had been raised over its “high visual impact” on the nearby Grade II-listed Clickland Court and effects on populations of badgers, bats and deer. But the application by Lightsource Renewable Energy was eventually approved by South Hams District Council following detailed

surveys of the local area and revisions to the layout of the project over a number of months.

The company was forced to move the siting of many of the panels into a field north of the original application site.

Dean Kinsella, case officer for South Hams District Council, said the original application had not been allowed due to the “significant harm” it would have caused to the listed building. He added: “The [revised] scheme has addressed the concerns to a point where officers are convinced that the development no longer offers a significant impact upon the listed building’s setting.”

Lightsource Renewable Energy, which claims to be the UK’s largest solar energy generator, said it had consulted with the council and English Heritage to avoid an adverse impact on the property.

Its business development director, Conor McGuigan, said: “Sometimes we have to think a little laterally to find the right solutions. In this case, the benefit of revisiting our designs and making further investigations has presented us with the best possible outcome whereby we are able to present an agreeable solution while increasing the amount of ‘green’ energy that could be generated.”

He added: “We are confident that the benefits and impacts of our proposal were weighted in detail and the outcome determined that the positive contribution to providing sustainable energy outweighed any perceived negative impact to the local surroundings.”

A spokesman for Lightsource added: “Unlike some other forms of renewable energy, solar farms have negligible impact on the land they stand on.

“They are noise and emission-free, and because they have no moving parts they do not harm wildlife.”

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