Solar farm on Doncaster countryside land set to be given go ahead

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Plans for a 980 panel solar farm on countryside land in Doncaster are set to be given the green light at a planning meeting today.

Doncaster Council’s planning committee is being recommended to give the development at Oaktree Farm, Oak Lane, Sykehouse, the go ahead despite being classed as ‘an inappropriate form of development in the countryside’.

A document set to be discussed at today’s meeting states: “On balance, the benefits of the scheme in terms of renewable energy provision outweigh the harm to the countryside.”

The application seeks planning permission for a 249.9 Kilowatt peak solar farm comprising of 980 solar panels covering an area of 0.22 hectares of field.

The development proposes to use the renewable source to create electricity to power the farm business with any additional distributed to the local grid.

The farm supplies major supermarkets with crops and livestock and the development is part of a leading supermarket’s commitment to reduce its carbon footprint along the supply chain.

The development will consist of 980 solar panels attached to a fixed ground mounted steel system standing 2.2 metres high.

The report to be considered by councillors adds: “There is clearly a need to carry out a balancing exercise of the benefits that the scheme will bring, against any harm that it would cause.

“In this case the renewable power created versus the harm to the countryside by reason of inappropriateness and any other harm.

“The proposal would cause some harm to the countryside by reason of inappropriateness and because of the reduction in openness it would involve. There would however, be a limited degree of visual harm to the landscape and the proposal would be well screened by the proposed hedging.”

The report says although the land is countryside, it is open land which is ‘perfect for a solar farm’.

It is thought the solar farm would not have an overbearing impact on residents, given the relatively low height of the structures and intervening distance with proposed landscaping.

The development will generate three material delivery vehicles and three contractor vehicles a day for a relatively short period of time.

Councillors will be told all issues such as aviation safety, highways, ecology and residential amenity have been considered and resolved.

The plans are recommended to be approved in full subject to conditions including a hedgerow planting scheme to protect the visual impact, a commitment to ensure that work starts within three years of planning permission being granted.

Construction of the solar farm is expected to take five weeks.

The meeting takes place at 2pm today.