Solar farm plan that divided village has been refused by planning chiefs

Library image.
Library image.

A hard fought campaign for a solar farm on the outskirts of a picturesque village has been blocked by planning chiefs.

Bedford Borough Council’s planning committee has refused planning permission for 19,000 solar panels on farmland adjacent to Dungee Road.

Those behind the project promoted it as a community scheme that would have generated £40,000 each year for local causes.

But the proposal caused a divide in the village and the parish council hosted a referendum to decide whether they would support of oppose the plan.

Just ten more people voted against the scheme, which meant the parish council objected to the solar farm.

On Monday night, the borough council’s committee refused planning permission on the recommendation of planning officer Greg Logan.

Speaking to the T&C following the decision Graham Russell from HARE (Harrold Renewable Energy), the group behind the planning application, said: “Suffice to say, we’re deeply disappointed with the decision, we think it’s to the detriment of our community and we look forward to seeing some positive action from those people who opposed the planning application whilst claiming to be supportive of renewable energy schemes.”

The application, which received 164 objections from residents, was refused on the grounds that it failed to provide the most compelling evidence to demonstrate that the development of the ‘best and most versatile land in lieu of poorer quality land is necessary’.

This means the proposed development is contrary to the National Planning Policy Framework.

Campaign group Harrold Save Our Countryside has been approached by the T&C for comment about the planning decision.