The bottom line, in my opinion, is that there is no suitable route for heavy construction traffic to the site of the solar farm, as all routes have to pass through rural villages with unsuitable roads. But this just underlines the poor choice of the site.
If you’ve not already done so, please consider signing this petition and making a comment on the Melton Borough Council planning site (just type ‘solar’ into the search box). Or, if you have already commented on the MBC site, do so again with your thoughts on the new route.
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Apparently, Nottinghamshire County Council refused permission for the construction vehicles access route from the A52, through Granby, to the site of the solar farm.
So now there is a new proposed route, from the A52 along Castle View Road, along Long Lane and then through Plungar, passing The Anchor Inn. You can find details here: https://pa.melton.gov.uk/online-applications/files/0F0276512B705AD4B660891D7EBE1BED/pdf/20_01182_FUL-ADDITIONAL_INFORMATION_-_TRANSPORT_STATEMENT_ADDENDUM_16421-HYD-XX-XX-RP-TP-1001-1055474.pdf
If you know this proposed route, you’ll know that it’s not a practical proposal, even for the smaller (7.5 ton) lorries now proposed. Castle View Road is largely a single track road, with poor visibility on its junction with Belvoir Road/Long Lane. And the route through Plungar (for 26 or so HGV trips daily) is not practical either.
I mentioned the National Planning Policy Framework earlier, which states that:
“Planning policies and decisions should contribute to and enhance the natural and local environment by a) protecting and enhancing valued landscapes, sites of biodiversity or geological value and soils and b) recognising the intrinsic character and beauty of the countryside.” (para 170)
“Great weight should be given to conserving and enhancing landscape and scenic beauty in …. Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty ….” (para 172)
“The scale and extent of development within these designated areas should be limited. Planning permission should be refused for major industrial development.” (para 172)
“If significant harm to biodiversity cannot be avoided, …. adequately mitigated or as a last resort compensated for, then planning permission should be refused.” (para 175)
“Development on land within or outside a Site of Special Scientific Interest …. should not normally be permitted.” (para 175)
I thought some of you might want to hear what Alicia Kearns has to say about The Vale of Belvoir as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, so here's a short video:
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I wanted to add so much more to my reasons for starting this petition, but the space is limited! So I'm planning to use these updates quite a bit.
First, I wanted to say that, of course, I realise how important it is to replace our dependence on fossil fuels for the sake of the environment, and what a vital role wind and solar power are playing in this. But I am at a loss to understand why such a vast solar farm (and I can not stress just how vast this proposal is!) has to be placed in such a beautiful location. It's not a case of 'not in my back yard' (NIMBY), but a real desire to protect a potential Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and its wildlife.
I'm hoping to publish a list of the endangered species here shortly, along with updates of other actions being taken to protect the Vale of Belvoir.
If you have similar views, please leave a comment on Melton Borough Council's planning site: https://pa.melton.gov.uk/online-applications/simpleSearchResults.do?action=firstPage