Decision made on plans for huge solar farm near battefield site

Plans for a huge solar farm near Bosworth Battlefield have been rejected by councillors.

The proposal for a 62-hectare solar park on fields at Hangmans Hall Farm, near Sutton Cheney, were refused over concerns that it would spoil views from the battlefield and would have an adverse impact on tourism in the area.

Elgin Energy was hoping to create the 35MW power complex, capable of generating electricity for more than 10,000 homes a year.

It would have been in place for 30 year and would have offsetted 570,000 carbon tonnes throughout its lifetime.

Historic England and The Battlefields Trust filed objections to the plans, which would have been sited to the south east of the battlefield, before they were considered by the planning committee at Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council.

Councillor Jonathan Collett represents Ambien ward, where the solar farm was proposed to be built.

Speaking at the committee meeting, Coun Collett said: “I feel personally that this construction of one of the largest solar panel sites in the country is inappropriate for our area.

“It’s located in an area that the council is trying to promote for the Inspiring Bosworth project and it should be one of the jewels in our crown.

“Work carried out by English Heritage stated that the registered battlefield and its landscape setting also contain a wider range of other cultural and natural heritage designations, demonstrating that the area is of considerable significance and not just important as the site of the battle.

“Public consultation clearly shows that the area is highly valued for its unspoilt landscape and its views, and in a region that can be busy and urbanised this area is a tranquil piece of English countryside that provides a sense of identity and belonging for locals.

A renactment of the Battle of Bosworth where the Plantagenet dynasty ended

“Views are often open and of long distance. This landscape has historic interest associated with its hilltops.”

Coun Collett also pointed out that while the application is outside of the designated battlefield area, research is ongoing as to where exactly the battle took place.

Officers had recommended the scheme for refusal prior to the planning meeting.

The scheme was overwhelmingly rejected, with 15 votes to refuse it and just one abstention.

Plans were approved in 2018 for Horiba MIRA to build a £26 million driverless vehicle testing track on part of the battlefield.

A proposal was also brought forward in November 2019 to build six homes behind The White Swan pub in Stoke Golding, which would have encroached on the battlefield.

The scheme has since been withdrawn.

Source

Leave a Reply