Solar farm support in Maiden Newton after route change

Solar farm support in Maiden Newton after route change

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A planning application for a 40-acre solar farm near Maiden Newton has now secured the backing from the parish council after a new route into the site has been agreed.
While Maiden Newton Parish Council had agreed the application ‘in principle’ councillors were concerned with the amount of ‘construction traffic’ on small narrow lanes.
However, applicant Environmena ‘has worked very closely with Maiden Newton Parish Council and the local community to finalise a new route into the site and work up a scheme that has the full support of everyone’.
Now the parish council has written to the Dorset Council team requesting the case is heard before a planning committee.
The plan for the 40-acre 11.8 MW solar installation on two fields at Cruxton Manor Farm, is capable of providing power to over 4,800 homes every year, which in turn will offset 3,000 tonnes of carbon.
Mark Harding, Enviromena’ s Europe Development Director said the application should be decided by Dorset Council’s planning committee and not by officials under delegated powers.
He said: “We understand the Planning Officer recommends to refuse the scheme – possibly doing so using delegated powers. But this is a significant renewable energy installation signalling the move away from fossil fuels and requires the benefit of due process.
“It’s an absolute scandal that it might be decided by an officer under delegated powers.
“We have made a significant investment over 12 months to ensure the site is acceptable to the local community and parish council who are all supportive of the application and the jobs it will create.”
Dorset Council say the scheme has not been delegated to officers to decide but, at this stage, is going through its “scheme of delegation” which results in the officer’s draft report being considered by the chairman and vice chairman of the Strategic Planning Committee.
The relevant ward members then have five working days to respond on whether they consider the application should be considered at committee or dealt with under delegated powers.

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