Pegasus Group, on behalf of JBM Solar Projects 20 Limited, has secured planning permission on appeal for a new solar farm and battery stations outside the village of Greatworth, five miles east of Banbury, Northamptonshire.
The outline proposal, which will produce enough clean renewable energy to power the equivalent electricity needs of over 18,000 homes a year, was initially refused planning permission by West Northamptonshire Council in October 2022 on the grounds of adverse effect on the landscape and visual character of the area and conflict with the development plan.
The scheme was heard at Public Inquiry in June 2023, with community group Copse Lodge Action Group also appearing formally (known as a Rule 6 party).
The Inspector’s report acknowledged that the proposal would harm the landscape character and would conflict with the development plan, but that the very significant weight arising from renewable energy production and storage, along with significant biodiversity enhancements, outweighed the identified harm.
The proposal will give rise to significant environmental and ecological benefits through habitat enhancements and carbon emission savings. It will generate economic benefits with an injection of £30m into the local economy and the creation of 70-80 temporary jobs during the construction phase. The scheme also will provide an outdoor classroom and permissive route through the site to boost education and understanding about the renewable energy sector.
Conor McAllister of JBM Solar Projects 20 Ltd, said, “It’s fantastic to get this result, particularly after many years of hard work from all involved. Renewable energy projects can too often meet resistance but we are committed to working collaboratively with the council to progress the scheme and deliver it promptly.”
Ellen Fortt, Senior Planner at Pegasus Group, added, “This appeal decision demonstrates the significant weight that renewable energy schemes hold in the planning balance, reinforcing their role in the country’s efforts to reach net zero by 2050. We are pleased to be able to advise on valuable and hugely beneficial projects like this.”
Work is expected to start on site in Autumn 2024. Pegasus Group led on matters of planning, landscape and heritage, alongside No5 Chambers as Counsel and Avian Ecology.