Planners say no to Catsfield solar farm bid

File photo dated 04/09/13 of solar panels at Rudge Manor Solar Farm near Marlborough, Wiltshire. George Osborne will make a pitch to ordinary working people today when he delivers his penultimate Budget before the general election.  PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Wednesday March 19, 2014. See PA BUDGET stories. Photo credit should read: Tim Ireland/PA Wire PPP-140320-155121001
File photo dated 04/09/13 of solar panels at Rudge Manor Solar Farm near Marlborough, Wiltshire. George Osborne will make a pitch to ordinary working people today when he delivers his penultimate Budget before the general election. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Wednesday March 19, 2014. See PA BUDGET stories. Photo credit should read: Tim Ireland/PA Wire PPP-140320-155121001

Controversial plans to install solar panels in a field at Catsfield have been refused by Rother District Council’s planning committee.

The plan had been recommended for approval by officers, despite 29 letters of objection.

Plans had been substantially amended from an initial application, which was refused last November.

The size of the original application had been reduced by more than a half and the new application offered improved screening, with a woodland belt.

But planning committee members decided they were unable to support approval and felt the application should be refused broadly in line with the reasons given for the previous application in terms of its impact on open countryside.

The reason for refusal was given as: “The proposal with associated access, structures, fencing and CCTV cameras, would represent a significant intrusion into the countryside.

“The industrial type installation would be out of keeping with the rural character of the landscape and fail to protect or enhance the intrinsic character or beauty of this area of countryside.

“The proposals to mitigate against the visual landscape impacts are considered insufficient to outweigh the harm resulting from the proposed development in an area of countryside.”

The proposed solar farm, known as a photovoltaic park, would have generated enough electricity to power more than 1,000 homes.

Planning officers have said there are no other brownfield or industrial sites, of a suitable size, within the catchment area, which would be able to accommodate a large scale solar farm.

The application has 22 letters of support.