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Snarlton solar scheme approved

June 10, 2015 3:17 PM

A huge solar farm near Melksham has been permitted on appeal. The 80Ha scheme will cover parts of Snarlton, Tanhouse and Sandridge Farms.

It will have the capacity to generate up to 44MW of electricity which will be fed directly into the grid. The applicants claim the proposed installation could serve 11,000 UK homes - the equivalent of a town like Melksham - though this figure has been disputed by CPRE.

Under the original proposal the scheme would also pay £44,000 per year to a local community fund, though this was not taken into account by the appeal inspector.

Local residents had divided opinions - the parish councils were generally in favour, and petitions and representations were received both for and against.

The solar farm was refused by Wiltshire councillors in April 2014. The reason for the refusal was the visual impact on the countryside, in particular from Seend. Agenda

Appeal Inspector J M Trask agreed with the applicants that the visual impact would be 'minor to moderate' and did not justify refusal. The Inspector also said there would be no cumulative impact caused by this and other solar farms, and in any case the renewable energy benefits of the proposal outweighed the problems.