Agenda item

Application P/FUL/2023/00384 Highlands End Holiday Park, Highlands End, Eype, DT6 6AR

Installation 300 ground mounted photovoltaic (Solar Panels) to provide carbon free electricity for Park.


Cllrs Dunseith, Wheller, Ireland, Pipe and Clayton had attended the site visit to the application site and Cllr Cocking had done so independently and so were all able to participate in the deliberation of this item. Cllrs Ridout, O’Leary and Wheller did not participate in this item.


The Senior Planning Officer presented the application for the installation of 300 ground mounted photovoltaic panels to provide carbon free electricity for a holiday park. This application had been deferred at the September meeting to allow members undertake a site visit. 


The location of the application site was shown to members and the nearby footpaths and bridleways were outlined on the map. The application site fell within the Dorset AONB, the Eype Conservation area and the West Dorset Heritage Coast designation area.


The application consisted of 300 photovoltaic panels, which would provide 298 mWh of renewable electricity per year for the nearby holiday park. Members were also shown the proposed landscaping plan, which included hedging along the boundaries of the site and orchard planting.


The Senior Planning Officer explained that the provision of renewable energy was supported by policies in both local and national planning frameworks and there was not considered to be an impact on amenity or a loss of biodiversity from the development.


The landscape impacts of the application were highlighted to the committee. Due to the site being located within the AONB and West Dorset Heritage Coast the proposal had been assessed as having a detrimental impact on the surrounding landscape. The applicant had also failed to demonstrate that there were no other alternative sites that would have been suitable for this development that wouldn’t have the same detrimental landscape impacts.


Members were shown photographs from the various viewpoints that were covered during the site visit to the application site. This included views from the site, nearby footpaths and the surrounding area, to demonstrate the visual impact of the development on the landscape.


Public representations were heard from Ms Froy, Mr Ashford and Ms Boyze, who spoke in opposition to the application. They stated that the development would have a harmful impact on the surrounding landscape, in particular the nearby St Peters Church, a non-designated heritage asset. They also expressed concern at the failure to find another suitable site for the development and that the location of the site would result in harm to the AONB and Eype Conservation area. Mr Cox, the applicant, spoke in support of the application, stating that the planting would mitigate the visual impact of the development and the renewable energy that would be generated was a significant benefit.


In response to questions from members, the Senior Planning Officer provided the following responses.

·       The West Dorset Heritage Coast is an additional designation area that applies to the application site, alongside the AONB and Eype Conservation area designations.

·       The additional report that was submitted late, does not impact the recommendation within the report and any evidence submitted before the decision has been made should be considered by the committee.

·       St Peters Church was considered by planning authority to be a non-designated heritage asset.


Several members expressed that they felt that minimal harm to the surrounding landscape was caused by the development and that the benefits of increased production of renewable energy outweighed any harm that was caused.


Having undertaken a site visit, one member considered that the proposal would cause minimal harm to the Eype Conservation Area and the St. Peters Church and minimal visual impact to the heritage coast and the conservation area.  In their opinion, these minimal levels of harm were outweighed by the benefits of renewable energy generation. 


As members were minded to approve the application, the meeting adjourned at 10:59 and resumed at 11:11 in order for officers to provide conditions for the application.


Cllr O’Leary left the Council Chamber at 11:11.


The Development Management Area Manager presented the revised conditions to grant the application to the committee.


Proposed by Cllr Clayton and seconded by Cllr Pipe.


Decision: That authority be delegated to the Head of Planning and the Service Manager for Development Management and Enforcement to grant subject to planning conditions the detailed wording of which shall have first been agreed in writing by the vice-chair of the Southern and Western Planning Committee (acting as chairman at today’s meeting). These conditions are outlined in the appendix to these minutes.


Cllr Williams returned to the Council Chamber at 11:20.

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