DLP Planning’s Bristol office have successfully appealed the decision of South Somerset District Council and secured planning permission for the development of a 17MWp solar PV farm on the Somerset Levels at Aller Court, Aller. The scheme has the capacity to supply power to approximately 4,300 homes.
The planning application was recommended for approval by Planning Officers, but was refused at Planning Committee in July 2015. Following the applicants decision to appeal the Council’s decision, DLP were appointed to present the case at an Informal Hearing.
The site sits within the Somerset Levels and Moors National Character Area so it was crucial to demonstrate that the potential landscape and visual impacts of the proposal would not be significant. Furthermore, the site lies in close proximity to a number of nationally important ecological designations, including SSSI’s and lowland areas that are recognised for their importance in supporting many species of birds. Flooding was also a sensitive issue for a small part of the site, along with the potential impact on a number of nearby important heritage designations.
In her report, the Planning Inspector was satisfied that the benefits of the scheme would clearly outweigh the temporary impact upon the landscape character of the area, and she was satisfied that through a number of innovative mitigation and enhancement measures, the site would be of benefit to surrounding ecology interests, and could be developed without any impact upon flooding or heritage issues.