More than 16,000 solar panels will be placed on about six hectares of land in Bishops Tachbrook, as approval has been given to build south Warwickshire’s first solar farm.
Councillors on Warwick District Council’s planning committee on Tuesday night voted in favour of the plan put forward by Sun Glow Power for the farm at Brickyard Barn in Mallory Road.
The firm had submitted a planning application earlier this year, but withdrew it in November to address concerns about the size of the site and its layout connection to the national grid.
Now the site, which the firm says is “the smallest possible financially viable”, would be 200m away from the closest houses and make use of new, more efficient panels.
Council planning officer Liam D’Onofrio had encouraged councillors to vote in favour of granting permission, stating: “The proposal will have limited impact on the visual amenities of the area and will help to meet the Government’s objectives by increasing supplies of renewable energy.”
But Graham Leeke, the vice chairman of Bishops Tachbrook parish council - which had objected to the scheme - said that Gregory Barker MP, Minister of State for Emergency and Climate Change, had actually written to local authorities to say that solar farms should primarily be on buildings rather than in open countryside.
He said: “If the local planning authority is choosing to ignore the guidance of the Government, there is a concern. The outcome is very bad, not just for this parish, but also for any other green spaces in the district which could be plundered by applications from energy companies.”
District councillor and planning committee member Michael Doody, who voted against the proposal, said: “The land there would be better left as an area of restraint. It would have been useful in the Local Plan to protect Bishops Tachbrook from being merged with Warwick Gates and Whitnash.”