Council says no to ‘obtrusive’ Loxwood solar panel

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PLANS for a series of solar panels at a home in Loxwood have been refused because they would be too obtrusive.

Owners of a home in Headfoldswood Common, Plaistow Road, wanted to place a four-kilowatt array of solar panels in a field close to public bridleways.

The plan was originally refused by Chichester District Council last November and went to appeal, with the planning inspector siding with the council.

In his report he inspector said: “In such an exposed position, in countryside outside the area that has the appearance of the residential curtilage of Orchard Cottage, the proposed array would be a prominent and intrusive feature which would detract from the otherwise largely unspoilt appearance and predominantly rural character of the area, which comprises fields and woodland with only a scatter of dwellings.”

Applicants asked users of the bridleway to give their opinions on the plan and had installed a post with a questionnaire.

But the planning inspector discounted people’s views that the solar panels would not be detrimental to the countryside because no drawings or photographs of the panels and where they would be situated were included as part of the questionnaire.

The inspector said: “The proposed array would beneficially generate electricity from a renewable source but it would also cause significant harm to the countryside and it is unclear why a similar benefit could not be achieved in a less conspicuous manner.”

Rejecting the appeal, he said the panels would result in unacceptable harm to the character and appearance of the surrounding area.

He also added that circumstances varied from site to site, and that each proposal needed to be considered on its own merits.