RAC secure planning permission for solar panel development in the Green Belt
By Olivia Wojniak, Associate at Reading Agricultural Consultants.
RAC was instructed to submit a planning application for the retention of 16 solar panels in an agricultural field located in the Green Belt following refusal by Warwick District Council in May 2017. The council considered in their refusal that there had been a material change in planning policy following the adoption of the framework.
Permission was originally granted for the siting of the panels in February 2012, five weeks before the adoption of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and was therefore assessed against Planning Policy Statement 22 (PPS22). The council considered the panels a temporary structure and so temporary permission was granted with a time condition limiting the siting of the panels for a period of five years.
In the resubmission, RAC demonstrated that the policy had not materially changed since the original permission was granted and that they were not a temporary structure. Whilst Paragraph 91 of the NPPF is slightly abbreviated, the policy has remained essentially the same as Paragraph 13 of PPS22. As a result, there was no need for further justification through very special circumstances.
In addition, the government continues to support renewable energy resources and this would continue to outweigh the general presumption against inappropriate development in the Green Belt.
Permission was granted in September for the retention of the panels until the use ceases or be decommissioned.
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