Catsfield solar park opposed by residents

Bexhill Town Hall SUS-150723-150307001
Bexhill Town Hall SUS-150723-150307001

A third application for a solar park in Catsfield has had 17 objection letters including one from the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE).

Iota Solar was refused permission in November, 2014, and again in April this year for the installation on land east of Catsfield Road.

Residents raised concerns including the fact that there are already two solar parks in the area and the effect it could have on the countryside.

Catsfield Village Parish Council is also against the proposal as it believes it would have a detrimental visual impact on the landscape.

Despite concerns, officers recommended granting the application as they said the new proposal has sought to address issues from previous applications.

Rother District councillors were set to debate the proposals at a planning committee meeting as the Observer went to press yesterday.

Geoff Furlong, of The Stream, Catsfield, said: “It would seem that the applicant is trying to win by attrition in the hope that the residents of Catsfield will simply tire of objecting.”

One suggestion many residents made was for the houses in the future Worsham Farm development to all have solar panels so the countryside was not ‘blighted’.

Paul and Debbie Curran, also of The Stream, wrote: “It will destroy the countryside setting of our village.

“The application is a mega factory without walls and as such should never be allowed.”

The Environment Agency had no objection to the application but the county archaeologist said the site should be thoroughly excavated so any potential heritage is not lost.

Iota Solar has reduced the size of the park from the previous proposals, placed panels on ‘moderate’ agricultural land only and provided additional landscaping.

Officers also suggested granting permission for some goods displays and outdoor seating at Eggs to Apples Farm Shop on London Road in Hurst Green.

The shop wanted to have some seating to the front, rear and north side of the building.

Residents views were mixed with the planning officer receiving 61 letters about the application – 35 in favour and 26 in opposition.

Hurst Green Parish Council is not in favour of the proposal as it believes the additional seating will affect neighbours’ privacy.

However, the report says the areas will be screened from neighbours and the surrounding countryside and will be restricted during the evening.

A garage conversion and first-floor extension at a property on Telham Lane, Battle is also on the table for councillors, with officers recommending permission.

Officers have recommended granting permission for solar panel installation in Udimore.

They have also suggested allowing Glottenham Castle to remove a condition for seasonal camping at the site.

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