Solar farm debate for land near Grantham ignites wider debate over planning policy

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A heated debate broke out on the number of solar farms being built in the district on farmland, during SKDC’s planning meeting on Tuesday to decide whether another should be built in Allington.

Big60Million Ltd’s application to build solar panels on 14.82 hectares of land south-east of Pasture Farm at Allington, had not received any objections by statutory consultees, but ignited criticism amongst committee members of conflicts within national planning policy. Coun Michael King said: “We’re told to protect our energy security, but what about our food security?” As at previous meetings, he criticised how land classed as grade 3b kept being referred to as ‘poor’ rather than ‘moderate’ quality, despite still being able to produce crops.

“In Lincolnshire we produce half of all the food that’s grown in this country,” highlighted Coun Helen Powell. “This solar farm builds on a lot of others we’ve had. After a certain point we are going to tip the scales and the character of Lincolnshire will have completely changed, and we will have had a hand in that.” Coun Judy Stevens added: “I think this council has been put in an extremely invidious position.”

It was proposed the plans be rejected on the grounds they conflicted with the South Kesteven Core Stategy policy to protect the character of the area, but this was defeated by nine votes to six, with one abstention. The solar farm was then approved by 11 votes to four, with one abstention.