Hundreds object to plans for large-scale solar panel farms near Morebath

Mid Devon Star: Planning applications have been submitted for more than 80 acres of Mid Devon land to be converted in three large-scale solar panel farms Planning applications have been submitted for more than 80 acres of Mid Devon land to be converted in three large-scale solar panel farms

PLANS to convert more than 80 acres of Mid Devon land into solar panel farms have attracted hundreds of objections from concerned residents.

Mid Devon District Council will decide whether to grant permission for three developments near the village of Morebath and at Stoodleigh in the coming weeks.

The largest project - covering more than 45 acres of land at Keens Farm, near Morebath - and a second, slightly smaller development a mile east of the village at Loyton Farm are expected to go before the council's planning committee on January 30.

A decision on a third solar farm, capable of generating up to 1.5MW of energy at Blatchworthy Farm, near Stoodleigh, was deferred for a second site visit following a planning meeting on December 19.

The two projects either side of Morebath - just a mile from Exmoor National park - would comprise around 45,000 solar panels and generate a combined 10.7MW of renewable energy.

Planning chiefs will make a decision on the Blatchworthy Farm application alongside a separate application for a 54-metre high wind turbine on site, which itself has generated more than 100 objection comments on the council's website.

Morebath Parish Council has added its own letter of objection to the schemes on MDDC's website, describing the plans as 'totally unacceptable' and listing a series of visual and environmental impacts the development could have on the area. Protestors have set up an online petition on the Prime Minister's No.10 website and posters bearing the message 'Green Not Greed' have sprung up around the community. Others who added objections are Morebath villager Colin Rowland, who wrote: “There is huge objection to this project.

“The tourism trade will be adversely affected by this industrial-sized development. Please, please reject it once and for all.”

Scott Oakley said: “There are many holiday lets in the immediate vicinity which people visit year after year because of the beautiful area that it is now and those small businesses will be adversely affected.

“I believe this proposal would constitute an entirely unacceptable intrusion into the landscape.”

The Mid Devon branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England backed the objects made by Morebath Parish Council, adding “It is frankly a disgrace that a small parish set in this beautiful part of Devon should be faced and subjected to the enormity of such large industrial complexes.”

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