Planning Inspector’s Trimmers Farm decision could scupper Winchfield new town plan

Solar Farm at Trimmers Farm, Hook, Hampshire turned down by planning inspectorate

Trimmers Farm solar farm turned down by inspector

The Planning Inspectorate has decided not to allow a solar farm to be built at Trimmers Farm, near Beggars Corner, on a site that straddles Hook and Winchfield parishes.  The implication of this decision is that it also likely scuppers the proposed Hartley Winchook new town. The full decision can be downloaded from the button below.

The main reason given by the planning inspector was that the solar farm “would cause substantial harm to the character and appearance of the surrounding landscape”. Although the inspector did also say that ” the proposal would make a valuable contribution to the cutting of greenhouse gas emissions. It would also assist in securing the ongoing viability of the farm enterprise”. The more detailed assessment of the harm said:

From my own observations and having regard to the appellants’ photomontages and Zone of Theoretical Visibility (ZTV), the solar farm would have an adverse visual impact which would significantly detract from the visual amenity of the area. Having taken into account the presence of the railway, motorway and pylons I consider that the proposal would consolidate the spread of man-made features across the skyline and add to the creeping urbanising effect on the area, thereby exacerbating the resultant harm to the landscape character and visual amenity. In conclusion the level of harm to the character and appearance of the landscape would be significant and would conflict with LP saved Policies GEN10, GEN1, GEN3, CON23, RUR2 and RUR3.

SHL167 SHLAA Map - Beggars Corner, Winchfield, Hart District, Hampshire

SHL167 SHLAA Map – Beggars Corner, Winchfield, Hart District, Hampshire

The implications of this could be quite interesting as the same Beggars Corner site is contained in the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment as SHL 167, and is included in the proposals for the proposed new town at Winchfield. We have written before that 772 houses were proposed to be built on the former land fill site.

SHL 167 Landfill details Beggars Corner

SHL 167 Landfill details Beggars Corner, Winchfield, Hart District, Hampshire

However, we find it difficult to believe that 772 houses, many of which might have solar panels on their roofs, would have a lower visual impact or create less creeping urbanisation than a solar farm.  Of course, the challenges of building houses on landfill would be much greater than installing solar panels.

As can be seen from the image below, the removal of SHL167 from the new town plan would effectively isolate two halves of the proposed new town, with the Murrell Green sites being disconnected from the other sites.  This will compromise sustainability and will also reduce the housing capacity.

Winchfield and Hook New Town proposal

Winchfield and Hook New Town proposal

We have previously challenged the viability of the new town plan, as have Winchfield Parish Council. However, to re-cap, the SHLAA suggests that the housing capacity of the new town sites is in the range 6,500-7,500. But not enough space has been set aside for SANG, or for sports facilities, schools, shops, car-parks or community facilities. Making allowance for these elements would reduce capacity to 4,000-5,000. Removing the 772 houses from SHL167 would further reduce the capacity to 3,228-4,228, which is well below the minimum viability threshold of 5,000 dwellings.

 

Trimmers Farm Solar Farm Planning Inspector’s Appeal Decision

link

Posted in Environment & Ecology, Hampshire, Hart Local Plan, We Heart Hart Campaign, We Love Hart Campaign and tagged , , , , , , , , , .

8 Comments

  1. I agree with that. The rejection is based solely on the fact that it would spoil the view locally from a section of Trimmers Lane and the footpaths. They weren’t concerned about either distant views or Poland Mill. This outweighs powering 3,000 houses with clean energy for 25 years even though 175 countries signed a climate change agreement in Paris last Friday. This country seems to have a death wish on renewables, health, education, air pollution etc. I despair.

  2. I agree with that. The rejection is based solely on the fact that it would spoil the view locally from a section of Trimmers Lane and the footpaths. They weren’t concerned about either distant views or Poland Mill. This outweighs powering 3,000 houses with clean energy for 25 years even though 175 countries signed a climate change agreement in Paris last Friday. This country seems to have a death wish on renewables, health, education, air pollution etc. I despair.

  3. You might be right, but in my view, 772 houses would have a far worse ‘visual impact’ than the solar farm, so they would be going against their own policies.

  4. You might be right, but in my view, 772 houses would have a far worse ‘visual impact’ than the solar farm, so they would be going against their own policies.

  5. That’s an odd spin David. Both Winchfield and Hook Parish Councils submitted documents to The Planning Inspectorate in support of this development which would have blocked housing at Trimmers Farm for 25 years. In my view when the day comes that the planners want to build houses on this site they will get built.

  6. That’s an odd spin David. Both Winchfield and Hook Parish Councils submitted documents to The Planning Inspectorate in support of this development which would have blocked housing at Trimmers Farm for 25 years. In my view when the day comes that the planners want to build houses on this site they will get built.

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