Saturday, December 3, 2022
Solar farm application for Kidwelly refused planning

Solar farm application for Kidwelly refused planning

A SOLAR farm and accompanying pavilion planned near Kidwelly has been turned down.

Carmarthenshire Council planning officers described the proposal for the Gwendraeth Levels, just off the A484, as an inappropriate and unjustified form of commercial and residential development.

The 2.3-hectare site, close to Pembrey Airport, used to be home to Ministry of Defence buildings including barracks.

Applicant Richard Thomas and Co Ltd wanted the timber and metal pavilion to serve as an exhibition centre, workshops and office, with a small amount of accommodation for staff and visitors.

The solar farm itself would operate for 35 years.

The scheme was opposed by Carmarthenshire Bird Club, Llanelli Naturalists, Trimsaran Community Council and Trimsaran councillor Kim Broom, who said she had no issue with the solar farm but was concerned about the potential future use of the pavilion.

The bird club said the grassland area in question was part of a special landscape and home to numerous bird species.

It claimed in a letter to the planning authority that this “semi-wild” grassland was being “eaten into relentlessly” by housing, farming developments and “indiscriminate” tree planting.

The club also felt a small utility building was more appropriate than the one-and-a-half storey pavilion proposed.

Llanelli Naturalists said the site was “ecologically part of the Gwendraeth Fawr estuary complex”, and provided high-tide roosting areas as well as flood storage capacity. The group said the scheme should be rejected or least deferred until further supporting information was submitted.

The application came with a design and access statement, landscape and visual impact assessment, and flood consequence report.

The design statement said the solar farm would help meet Welsh Government renewable energy targets, and that the scheme would benefit from a significant amount of hedgerow and tree planting and would not affect visual or general amenity.

It added that the ground around the panels would encourage a wildflower habitat.

But planning officers questioned the need for the pavilion building, which they said could accommodate three people.

They turned down the scheme on five grounds, including its location in a flood zone. Their decision report also said it would be detrimental to the landscape character and qualities of the site and wider area.

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