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CPRE Bedfordshire objects to solar farm application within the Chilterns AONB

Thursday, 20 November 2014 11:54

CPRE Bedfordshire has filed an objection to a solar farm located on agricultural land on the outskirts of Caddington.

The land is not only designated as Green Belt, it also lies within the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

The scheme is described as ‘Millfield 2’, and involves some 9.3 hectares of land lying on the west side of Millfield Lane, Caddington. We have objected to the application on three grounds:

  1. Green Belt and AONB policies
  2. Landscape impact
  3. Agricultural implications

CPRE did not object to an earlier application in the area submitted in 2011 – know as Millfield 1. Although this also lies within the Green Belt, the site was considered to be relatively well screened, and to involve relatively little harm to the Green Belt’s openness or adverse impact on either the immediate or wider landscape. Given the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) identifies that contributing to national renewable energy targets is a ‘very special circumstance’ – potentially outweighing the harm to Green Belts from otherwise inappropriate development – we considered that the case for Millfield 1 had been sufficiently made.

‘Millfield 2’ is an entirely different matter. Though fairly well screened from Millfield Lane itself, the site lies in a much more open Green Belt landscape, one which is also deemed to be of sufficient quality to be included within a nationally-designated AONB. We also note that of the 7.6 hectares of Class 3 agricultural land included within the overall site area, 3.2 hectares (42%) is in the higher quality category of Class 3(a).

A PDF copy of our objection can be downloaded below. 

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