Venue: Virtual - Online meeting. View directions
Contact: Corporate and Community Services 01271 388253
Note: If you wish to attend the Committee please email firstname.lastname@example.org by noon Monday 19th April 2021. This will be a virtual site visit and will be conducted in line with The Local Authorities and Police and Crime Panels (Coronavirus) (Flexibility of Local Authority and Police and Crime Panel Meetings) (England and Wales) Regulations 2020. Please be aware that when you take part in a virtual meeting your phone number and/or your email address will be visible to councillors and officers of North Devon Council attending the committee but will not be visible to members of the public or others. This is required to allow you to be identified on Microsoft Teams, the software used by the Council to hold virtual committees, and will not be used for any other purpose by the Council. For more information, or to exercise your rights, please see www.northdevon.gov.uk/privacy.
Virtual meetings procedure - briefing and etiquette
Chair to report.
The Chair outlined the virtual meeting procedure and etiquette to the Committee and attendees.
The Corporate and Community Services Officer confirmed the names of those Councillors present.
Apologies for absence
Apologies were received from Councillor Chesters (who appointed Councillor Lane to be her substitute), Councillor Mack and Councillor Yabsley (who appointed Councillor Barker to be his substitute).
Declaration of Interests
(Please complete the form provided at the meeting or telephone the Corporate and Community Services Team to prepare a form for your signature before the meeting. Items must be re-declared when the item is called, and Councillors must leave the room if necessary)
There were no declarations of interest announced.
The Committee was presented with a virtual site visit by the Lead Planning Officer (South) which included various photographs and maps of the site, of the site as it was currently, and as it would be if the planning was approved.
As part of the site visit, the Committee was shown:
· A map of the B3233 Instow to Bickington, with the site outlined in red.
· The access to the site from the main road (B3233) junction to Yelland Quay.
· Existing access and bus-stop- showing good levels of visibility.
· Ariel view of the junction.
· A map showing the slight change to the alignment of the access road. The road would meet full highways standards, with footpath and cycleway to one side.
· Drone footage along the access road, past the existing employment sites, around the flooded turbine hall area and jetty. The footage then showed the areas across the concreted area and jetty, across to the mud flats and then back to the residual buildings from the demolished power station.
· The location of the Tarka Trail where it crossed the coastal footpath. This included views of the Isley Marsh and the ash-beds.
· An eye-level walkthrough of the site as it currently stood – this included the storage and large piles of sand and gravel, and areas of concrete.
· Still photos – identified the location on the south west edge of the site where the pond would be situated.
· The main road through the site to the jetty.
· Areas to be designated for open space.
· Key viewpoints from Northam Burrows, Crowpoint, Blackstone Rock and the South West coast path. Images were shown of each as at ‘year zero’ and ‘year ten’ following the completion of the development.
The Lead Planning Officer (South) advised that:
· The at the point where the Tarka Trail crossed the Coast path, the levels of the Tarka Trail would be raised/sloped upwards to the path, and then sloped downwards. The location of the crossing had been chosen to minimise the effect on any mature trees and also to minimise any ecological impact.
· A new carpark would be provided (as part of the Section 106 agreement) for those using the Tarka Trail and coast path, which would replace the current on-street parking along the access road. This parking was currently permissive only.
· The site was currently used for commercial use and was covered with residual waste from the power station. The preparation of the site would include lots of filling in of the areas, which included the flooded turbine hall which would need to be filled and capped.
· The site level would be raised by approximately 2.6m.
In response to questions from the Committee, the Lead Planning Officer (South) advised the following would be presented at the Committee meeting on 28th April 2021:
Installation of solar farm and associated infrastructure (amended plans and additional details).
The Committee were presented with a virtual site visit by the Planning Officer (RB) which included various photographs, maps and video footage of the site and surrounding area and maps and views as it would be if the planning was approved.
As part of the site visit, the Committee was shown:
· A map of the area of the proposed solar farm.
· A map of the terrain levels
· Photos of the area in the local vicinity to the proposed solar farm
· A photo of St Michael’s School, with St Peter’s Church in the foreground.
· Maps showing to locations of nearby wind turbines at Collacott and Litchardon.
· A map showing the location of Brookham Farm which was positioned between fields 19-21, and adjacent to field 9. Photos of the farm house, and from the farmhouse were presented.
· View from Holmacott, Huish Moor, Higher Litchardon, Voscombe and Green Fields.
· An aerial view of the site layout – with proposed locations of panels around the existing wind turbines.
· An image of an example of the mesh deer-fencing which would surround the perimeter of the site (at 2.1m height).
· A photo of a bi-facial solar pv module – from different angles.
· A 30m by 40m sub station
· A photo of an example access track.
· A virtual walkthrough of the site, once developed, at year one, and as at year ten. This was provided for the view from Brookham Farmhouse to Litchardon Cross and from the road near the farmhouse back toward the northeast. Mitigating planting was shown near fields 19 and 20, with an impression of the view after five years.
· A photo taken from the layby on the A39 showing both the wind turbines of Collacott and Litchardon either side of the A39.
· Photos of the views of the site from various locations, near to, and further from, the proposed site, some showed how views could be affected after five years, to allow for planting to mitigate the views, other view were provided during the winter – so that the effects when vegetation was reduced could been seen. The views included;
o From the road at Holmacott Cross
o Local road at Huish Moor
o Footpath at Knightacott
o Local road at Prospect Corner
o Eastacombe Cross
o Crest of B3232 at Alverdiscott
o Saunton, road to hotel (theoretically outside of the range/view radius.
o Higher Litchardon
o Lower Meadow Cottage
The Planning Officer advised that:
· There were a number of properties in the vicinity of the site: Higher Litchardon, Orchard Farm, Brookham, Meadow Cottage, Rose Cottage, Acorn Cottage, Fremington Cottage, Huish Moor, Holmacott.
· The majority of the site was within flood zone one and partially in a critical draining area.
· The application was for the change of use of 21 fields of agricultural land to a solar farm.
· There would be 32 transformers on site – each at 6m x 2m, painted green.
· Access tracks would cross the site – each created from stones ... view the full minutes text for item 14.