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Plans for solar farm near Grantham approved unanimously

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An application to develop a solar farm that could provide sustainable power for over 14,000 homes was approved unanimously.

This afternoon, the South Kesteven District Council Planning Committee voted to conditionally approve the proposal for a solar farm on a 76 hectare site at Gonerby Moor.

Submitted by Lightsource BP, the proposal would see the installation and operation of the solar farm on land currently used for agriculture, and will revert back to this after a period of 40 years.

solar farm (26076462)
solar farm (26076462)

The land will remain available for grazing even when the solar farm is operational, with the development set to save approximately 14,600 tonnes of CO2 per year.

The visual impact of the proposal was assessed from 11 different viewpoints, with the planning officer concluding that the visual impact would be relatively low and could be suitably mitigated.

Councillor Nick Robins raised concerns over the proximity of a motorcross track which sits between two sections of the site towards the western site boundary, particularly over the safety of the riders if they were to come off the track.

A public consultation for the project was held last October, with the site set between the villages of Great Gonerby, Marston and Allington.

Marston Parish Council had no objections to the application on the condition that it is made certain that no land belonging to LCC Highways alongside the A1 is given up to the site as that land may be required for a link road from Gonerby Moor roundabout to Marston, in the future.

Coun Robins did note that the parish council were "disappointed" by the contribution put forward by the applicant to mitigate the developing, stating that the figure (around £50,000) was three times less than what was given to the community for a similar-sized solar farm development at Foston, where £187,000 was given.

Coun Penny Milnes agreed that a figure of around £180,000 would have gone a long way to sort the A1 junction from Gonerby Moor roundabout to Marston, which is "a big issue in the area".

The motion was brought forward by Coun Helen Crawford, chair of the committee. She said: "I think it's a very good development. [Solar energy] is something that we all need.

"The fact that we are not losing the land, is a huge positive. 14,000 homes are going to get green electricity, which is what we want."

The motion was passed unanimously, but Coun Milnes noted that the committee needed to be careful about how many solar farms were approved in the area, while Coun Charmaine Morgan said that they needed to balance the need for sustainable energy with the production of food.

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