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Solar Farm in Rode – Update

The application was considered at the May meeting of the Somerset East Planning Committee, which met on the afternoon of  7th May. 

Although Rode Parish Council is strongly in favour of sustainable energy and formally declared a Climate Emergency in 2021, in line with the views of many local residents, the PC believes this proposed development is flawed.  In particular the council is concerned about the scale of the proposed solar farm (which would be the largest in Somerset, and one of the largest in the UK), its proximity to the village, and its impact on the local countryside and a number of heritage assets.

The PC believed that the changes made to the scheme since the original consultation period were very minor in nature and did not materially address any of the concerns or issues previously raised.

The Somerset East Planning Committee debated the merits of the application at some length, and ultimately decided there were some key elements that they were unhappy with, and therefore deferred a final decision, in order to allow the applicant to address those issues.  The matters of concern were:

  • Harm to landscape and heritage caused by the scale of the scheme and its proximity to the village of Rode – in particular the concerns raised by the Conservation Officer;
  • The unsuitability of the proposed access route via Monkley Lane; 
  • Screening issues (including the height of boundary fences and the potential inadequacy of hedging and other screening proposals).

In due course Somerset Council will publish the details of the Planning Committee decision and expand on these matters. 

The deferral is for a maximum of three months, and it is very much hoped that the applicant will engage positively with interested parties – including obviously local residents and Rode Parish Council. The PC has made it clear that it is willing to discuss potential changes to the scheme. There is a strong belief that a better scheme can be found which addresses the matters noted above, but ultimately also provides a meaningful contribution to renewable energy production. 

The Parish Council made the following submission to the Committee:

All the documentation in connection with the proposed development is available on the Somerset Council website: https://www.somerset.gov.uk/planning-buildings-and-land/view-and-comment-on-a-planning-application/
[On the SC website, go to “Planning, buildings and land”, then select “View or comment on a planning application”, choose “Mendip”, then go to “Find an application”. The application reference is 2023/2183/FUL]. 

Published
8 May 2024
Last Updated
8 May 2024