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Decision day looms for solar farm proposals

Objectors: From left, Jane Evans, John McGinty and Milly McGinty

Objectors: From left, Jane Evans, John McGinty and Milly McGinty

Controversial plans to build a £12m solar farm on greenbelt land look set to be refused.

Chorley Council’s development control committee will consider a planning application for a site on Tithe Barn Lane, Heapey, at their meeting on Tuesday.

A report prepared for the meeting by planning officers recommends permission is refused.

It states: “Whilst the environmental benefits of the proposal are considerable and acknowledged, on balance, it is not considered that these provide sufficient very special circumstances to outweigh the harm that will be caused to the character and openness of the greenbelt.”

Under the proposals, 32,000 solar panels would be installed on the site.

Applicants, Cassidy And Ashton Group, say the solar farm would produce enough energy to power 2,500 homes per year and would save 340 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

But people living nearby set up a campaign group, Chorley Residents Against Solar Heapey (CRASH), to oppose the scheme and even built a mock solar panel to show people how big the farm would be.

Chorley Council has received 479 letters of objection, with concerns including the development of the green belt, the visual impact of the solar farm and the affect on wildlife.

 

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