‘Blot on the landscape’ £30m solar farm near Richmond set for approval

File pic of solar farm. Photo. N Chadwick.

Controversial plans for a £30m solar farm the size of almost 130 football pitches on fields near Richmond is set to be approved.

Planning officers are recommending the development between Richmond, Skeeby, Easby and Brompton-on-Swale is given the go-ahead, despite widespread objections from local councils and residents.

Ritchie Bland Energy Limited and Harmony Energy Limited have drawn up the application to install the farm which it is claimed would have enough photovoltaic cells to power more than 11,000 homes.

More than 650 people however have signed a petition against the scheme, while parish councillors in Skeeby, Brompton-on-Swale and Easby, as well Richmond town councillors, have lodged their objections.

In its response, Skeeby Parish Council said: “Whilst councillors recognise the need for renewable energy sources, this should not come at the detriment to the amenities of the public.

“It is our view that the proposed solar farm will be a ‘blot on the landscape’.

“The proposed site, with associated security fencing and proposed gapping up with replanting of existing hedgerow, will erase an important, visual landscape view, from the A6108 across to the North Yorkshire Moors and down the Vale of York.”

The Campaign for the Protection of Rural England and the Original Richmond Business and Tourism Association has also raised its concerns.

The location of the proposed solar farm.

The council has received a further 117 letters and emails from people against the plans, although 97 have written in support of the scheme.

In his report to members recommending the plans are approved, planning officer Chris Peachey concluded: “Once in operation, the site would be capable of generating approximately 40MW of renewable energy, powering the equivalent of 11,455 homes, resulting in CO2 savings of 21,250 tonnes per year.

“Furthermore, the BESS facility would store and release electricity both from the solar farm and from the electricity network, ensuring a more constant supply to the electricity network from the solar farm and helping to balance the electricity grid.”

He added: “On balance, the considerable environmental and public benefits of the scheme are considered to outweigh any potential adverse impacts and overall, the proposals accord with the requirements and expectations of the relevant Spatial Principles and Core Policies of the Richmondshire Local Plan Core Strategy.”

The application will be discussed by councillors on the district council’s planning committee on Tuesday.

For more information on the scheme, click here.

14 Comments

  1. It’s only a ‘blot’ on the landscape if you own an aircraft to view the site from above!

  2. More misguided destruction of the natural environment. Has anyone realised that solar panels only work during daylight hours and the time we need most energy is during winter months when it’s dark longer than it is light? Solar panels are fine in Dubai, not North Yorkshire!
    We must stop this wanton destruction of farmland.

  3. At our peril from every point of view. How do we learn to use less electricity in meeting the energy crisis. When it gets worse, and use farm land to try and avoid cutting back, we wont be able to eat solar panels.

    • It is a temporary consent and very easy to remove. When it is gone the farm land is still there with the benefit of having a long fallow.
      Climate change on the other hand, that is a threat to food production.

  4. Solar farms make a valued addition to our energy supply. However, the siting/geography of these farms require far more thoughtful and intelligent consideration. We can’t continue with the of coherence we have at present.

  5. Solar farms make a valued addition to our energy supply. However, the siting/geography of these farms require far more thoughtful and intelligent consideration. We can’t continue with the of lack of coherence we have at present.

  6. There will be no future for us, our children – indeed humanity, if we take a narrow, selfish ‘nimbyist’ attitude. Solar panels and turbines are not even permanent, unlike concreted roads, drives, gardens, housing.
    If we expect to have power in our homes, we need to accept the need for sola, wind and harness tidal power too. If the government made installation of solar panels, ground source heating and triple glazing mandatory in all new builds (commercial and domestic), the UK could provide for its domestic energy easily.

  7. It seems like our planning department just can’t or won’t say no to big developments. I despair. But if you want to add something on your home you can bet they’ll discuss the colour of he bricks etc ad infinitum. Maybe this new super council thing might be better – well it couldn’t be any worse.

  8. 1000% needed and supported; we have an energy and cost-a-living crisis, not to mention the impact of climate change! It is a tiny land area to power the whole of Richmondshire… NIMBY needs to step aside for the benefit of all.

  9. Hopefully the planning officers will see that this is a benefit to our community. The solar generated can be used overnight, so the argument re only used during sunshine hours is defunct. A blot on the landscape… I’d rather that than a fracking site or non renewable energy sourced. People drive that fast past the area you’ll hardly notice it, plus it’s not like they are an eyesore. Where can we put more wind farms?

    • Couldn’t edit…. meant that the solar will cut down the usage of gas through the day so therefore it’s only needed overnight, thereby reducing the overall use of non renewable energy sources

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