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Declarations of Interest
To disclose any pecuniary, other registrable or non-registrable interests as set out in the adopted Code of Conduct. In making their disclosure councillors are asked to state the agenda item, the nature of the interest and any action they propose to take as part of their declaration.
If required, further advice should be sought from the Monitoring Officer in advance of the meeting.
No declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests were made at the meeting.
To receive questions or statements on the business of the committee from town and parish councils and members of the public.
Public speaking has been suspended for virtual committee meetings during the Covid-19 crisis and public participation will be dealt with through written submissions only.
Members of the public who live, work or represent an organisation within the Dorset Council area, may submit up to two questions or a statement of up to a maximum of 450 words. All submissions must be sent electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org by the deadline set out below. When submitting a question please indicate who the question is for and include your name, address and contact details. Questions and statements received in line with the council’s rules for public participation will be published as a supplement to the agenda.
Questions will be read out by an officer of the council and a response given by the appropriate officer at the meeting. All questions, statements and responses will be published in full within the minutes of the meeting. The deadline for submission of the full text of a question or statement is 8.30am on Monday 13 December 2021.
Representations by the public to the Committee on individual planning applications are attached as an appendix to these minutes.
Installation of 40MW ground mounted photovoltaic (PV) solar development including a substation & new fencing with associated landscape mitigation & ecological/ecosystem service enhancements.
This application had been the subject of a site visit by the committee on the Monday prior to the meeting which the following members attended.
Cllrs Robin Cook, John Worth, Shane Bartlett, Dave Bolwell, Alex Brenton, Jean Dunseith, Sherry Jespersen, Mary Penfold, Belinda Ridout and David Tooke.
Cllr Mike Dyer did not attend the site visit, therefore he did not take part in the debate or vote on the application.
The Senior Planning Officer presented the report which proposed the Installation of 40MW ground mounted photovoltaic (PV) solar development including a substation & new fencing with associated landscape mitigation & ecological/ecosystem service enhancements. He gave an update on a typing error in paragraphs 13.0 and 15.8 of the report. The contribution towards AONB mitigation was to be collected over 40 years and not 20 as stated in the report
The proposed site was situated midway between Dorchester and Wareham, North West of Winfrith Newburgh and to the west of East Knighton.
The presentation included maps and photographs of the application site which was agricultural and mostly flat in nature, noting the former nuclear power station Winfrith. The proposed location of the sub-station was already screened with well established trees and hedges.
The Access point to the site was via an existing bridleway which would be upgraded to support traffic during construction and would remain open during and after construction. There were no plans to remove any of the trees or hedgerows from the site.
It was noted that some existing watercourses on the site were proposed to be left to ensure surface water drainage. There were a few neighbouring properties – none of which directly abutted the site.
Committee members were advised that there was the potential for surface water flooding on the proposed site layout plan and the number of solar arrays had been reduced to accommodate that and therefore would not exacerbate any existing flood issues on the site. The Lead Local Flood Authority were happy and it was noted that the site was in Environmental Agency Flood Risk Zone 1 but was not considered to be of particular risk of surface water flooding but nevertheless any opportunity of surface water pooling had been removed from the arrays.
A detailed landscaping plan would be conditioned it the application were approved.
The Senior Planning Officer expanded on the information relating to elevations, locations, the solar arrays and advised that the security fencing would be set back from existing hedgerows to provide wildlife corridors. He gave an overview of the proposed landscaping, a more detailed landscaping plan was the subject of a planning condition. Further tree and hedgerow planting would enhance screening and reduce visual impact. The site was close to but not within the Dorset Area of Natural Beauty (AONB)
Following the closing summary members were given the opportunity to ask questions.
In response to committee member questions the Senior Planning Officer advised that the bridleway continued to Winfrith Heath, the first 50m would need to be a hard surface and ... view the full minutes text for item 36.
To consider any items of business which the Chairman has had prior notification and considers to be urgent pursuant to section 100B (4) b) of the Local Government Act 1972. The reason for the urgency shall be recorded in the minutes.
There were no urgent items.
To move the exclusion of the press and the public for the following item in view of the likely disclosure of exempt information within the meaning of paragraph 3 of schedule 12 A to the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended).
The public and the press will be asked to leave the meeting whilst the item of business is considered.
There was no exempt business.