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To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 11 October 2022
The minutes of the meeting held on 11 October 2022 were confirmed and signed as a correct record.
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.
Install ground-mounted solar panel photovoltaic solar arrays, substations, inverter stations, security fencing, access tracks, landscaping and other ancillary infrastructure.
The application had been the subject of a member site visit on the morning of the committee meeting.
The Development Management Area Manager S/W introduced the report for the installation of ground-mounted solar panel photovoltaic solar arrays, substations, inverter stations, security fencing, access tracks, landscaping and other ancillary infrastructure. The application site consisted of 17.66 hectares of land to provide 11.8 megawatts of electricity which would power 4,781 homes.
Members were shown maps for the main road and access points for construction vehicles and workers, an aerial view of Cruxton and the two fields of the application proposal.
Details of the perimeter 2.2m security fence with additional tree planting proposals and the orientation of the solar panels were highlighted. The application site was within the AONB and the Development Management Area Manager S/W put into context the terms of other solar farms in close proximity. The Officer’s report made reference to the listed buildings, the two bowl barrows and the MacMillan Way which was over 200 miles in length and ran through the site.
The Key Planning Issues were explained with great weight given to the AONB and the visual amenity and views from the MacMillan Way.
Members were reminded of the recommendation and reason for recommendation.
Oral representation was received from Mr Guy Dickinson on behalf of Dorset CPRE and Mr Richard Brown Landscape Planning Officer for the Dorset AONB Team – in objection to the application.
Mr Mark Harding addressed the committee on behalf of the applicant in support of the application.
In response to member questions the Development Management Area Manager S/W advised that the assumption was that most cabling would go underground or at an appropriate height and this could be conditioned if members were minded to approve the application.
In their discussion the committee felt that the application would have a huge impact on the area and that the benefits it would bring were not sufficient to outweigh the harm to the landscape in the AONB. Although supportive of solar arrays and sustainable sources of energy they did not feel it was the right location for this facility. The MacMillan route was considered a very important national walk with an open vista which would be lost within the tunnel effect of additional fencing and proposed planting. There were numerous alternative sites where this facility could be located. Although there was some member support to approve the application, most found the arguments for refusal more compelling
Proposed by Cllr Jespersen, seconded by Cllr Penfold.
Decision: That the application be refused for the reasons outlined in the appendix to these minutes.
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.