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Newbold Pacey solar farm plans set to be given green light by Stratford District Council

CONTROVERSIAL plans to build a solar farm in an historic south Warwickshire village look set to be given the green light.

Stratford District Council's planning committee will discuss the scheme next Wednesday (17th August).
Stratford District Council's planning committee will discuss the scheme next Wednesday (17th August).

The proposed farm would cover 40 acres beside the B4087 between Newbold Pacey and Wellesbourne and right beside recently discovered remains of an historic Anglo-Roman village.

Stratford District Council’s planning committee will discuss the scheme at a meeting next Wednesday (17th August) and it has been recommended for approval by officers.

The ancient settlement of Newbold Pacey was mentioned in the Domesday Book and its iconic church has Norman origins.

And as it is a conservation village, it is meant to have extra planning controls and considerations in place to protect its historic and architectural elements.

The solar farm is a project which has seen battle lines drawn between villagers and landowner William Little, whose family has presided over the estate that dominates the area for 300 years.

Mr Little, who recently sold his 18th century family seat, Newbold Pacey Hall, has made the application via energy firm Novus Renewable Services Ltd to Stratford District Council together with his sisters, Elizabeth and Georgina.

The Herald reported in March that every owner-occupier in the parish, apart from Mr Little himself, had put in an objection to the authority against the solar farm.

District councillor Anne Parry also opposed the solar farm, while Newbold Pacey and Ashorne, Wellesbourne and Walton, and Moreton Morrell parish councils have also objected the plans.

CPRE, the countryside charity for Warwickshire, has also objected to the plans over the potential loss of agricultural land and the impact it would have on Newbold Pacey and its conservation area.

Novus Renewable Services Ltd say the proposed solar farm will be able to generate up to 25MWp of electricity which can power 5,623 homes per year and will save roughly 5,379 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year.

It is proposed the land is used to generate renewable energy whilst continuing to use the site for sheep to graze.

As the solar farm is “temporary in nature”, Novus claim in planning documents that “there is no permanent loss of agricultural land” and that at the end of the installation’s life, the equipment can be removed and the land returned fully to agricultural.

Novus went on to say in the design and access statement: “The proposed development would provide a valuable resource of renewable energy, contributing towards a reduction in reliance on fossil fuels and towards the UK’s net zero carbon ambitions.

“It also accords with Stratford-on-Avon’s declaration of a climate emergency and local policy which is supportive of renewable and low carbon energy generation.

“It has been demonstrated through this [design and access statement] and through specialist reports and planning statements accompanying this application that the proposed development would accord with national and local planning policies and guidance.

“Therefore, it is considered that the application should receive the support of the [local planning authority] and planning permission be granted for the proposed development.”

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