THROWN OUT: Joy for Chorley solar farm project opponents

Heapey solar farm objectors leave Chorley Town Hall after planning councillors rejected the application for a second time.
Heapey solar farm objectors leave Chorley Town Hall after planning councillors rejected the application for a second time.
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A decision by planning councillors to throw out a controversial solar farm application was met with cheers and applause by objectors.

Around 50 members of the public attended a meeting of Chorley Council’s development control committee to hear the result they had been hoping for.

from left, Jane Evans, John McGinty and Milly McGinty from Heapey

from left, Jane Evans, John McGinty and Milly McGinty from Heapey

It was the second time the committee had rejected the project – proposed for greenbelt land off Tithe Barn Lane, Heapey.

The committee, which met at Chorley Town Hall on Tuesday evening, unanimously voted to refuse the scheme – submitted by Cassidy+Ashton – as recommended by the authority’s planning officers.

Councillors agreed it was an inappropriate development for the green belt, and that the size, scale and nature of the proposal would cause significant harm to the countryside, which outweighed any potential benefits.

Objector Peter Smith said: “This application is acknowledged by all to be an inappropriate development in the green belt, as such special circumstances are required to give the acceptance.”

He said the area was enjoyed by the likes of walkers, runners, cyclists, riders and touring motorists.

“An area visited by thousands far and wide, an area valued for its uniqueness and beauty,” he described it as.

Objecting councillor Gordon France said it would be like walking through “an industrial tunnel” with solar panels either side of footpaths.

Councillors turned down one bid by the applicants last year. It went to appeal and the decision was upheld by a Government planning inspector. This second attempt was a scaled down plan for the site.

Cassidy+Ashton was not available for comment.