Planners warn solar companies after latest application is rejected

A sign objecting to the plans for a solar farm in Sookholme.
A sign objecting to the plans for a solar farm in Sookholme.

Planners issued a warning to solar farm companies after turning down a major application for a 40,000-panel farm, by telling them - ‘look for more suitable sites’.

Scores of residents had opposed plans to build the development on farmland at Sookholme, near Warsop, and more than 20 turned out for the recent planning meeting at Mansfield District Council for the verdict.

They pointed out that the land was good-quality arable land that had always produced a high-yield of crops such as wheat or barley, there were numerous places of historical importance nearby and insisted the farm would have an unacceptable visual impact.

Committee members agreed that the solar farm was in the wrong place.

Councillor Sally Higgins described the area as a ‘little’ gem’, and said: “The one thing it boils down to is that they have to be in the right location, and it benefits the community it is in.

“There seems to be no benefit for the immediate community and that has to be a concern.”

Councillor Brian Lohan added: “They give no benefit to the people around them.

“They have not offered anybody a 20 per cent discount on their bills for this eyesore.

“They shove these farms up north instead of having them in London - as soon as they have them, we will have them.”

The development would have included a 10mw solar photovoltaic park with accompanying access track, transformer and inverter stations, two substations, security fencing and CCTV cameras.

The application says the development would have used three fields on quality grade-two agricultural land.

The site would have been expected to be operational for 25 years and generate approximately 8,435,000 kwh of electricity - enough to power 2,350 average homes.

Planning officers at Mansfield District Council recommended that the application be rejected, before the planning committee then overwhelmingly voted it down with 10 opting to reject the plans, with one abstention.