PROPOSED GROUND MOUNTED SOLAR PV DEVELOPMENT

Where is the scheme located?

Under contract with Cenin Renewables Ltd in Bridgend, James Banks was the lead planning consultant who secured planning permission for a new 1.5MW Ground Mounted Solar Photovoltaic Development on the land at Aerospace Business Park, Llanmaes, St Athan, CF32 4QN. This area of land is north east of Llantwit Major, North of St Athan and approximately 6 km west of Cardiff Airport. The B4265 connects Cardiff Airport to Bridgend along the south and west coast of the Vale whilst St Athan Road to the east and Llantwit Major Road to the west provides a main access from St Athan to Cowbridge and the A48. The application site is situated amongst large green aircraft hangers which were previously utilised by MOD St Athan. This area of land is known as Picketston Business Park consisting of commercial businesses focused on aviation and aircraft maintenance. The scheme is split into two separate brownfield plots with plot one enclosed by hard standing and a hanger north adjacent and plot two by hard standing, the same hanger west adjacent and a hedgerow to the east.

What is the proposed development?

This full planning application proposes the development of 1.5MW of decentralised low carbon energy generation through the installation of a ground mounted photovoltaic (PV) solar array on brownfield land at the Aerospace Business Park, St Athan. The proposed scheme would involve the development of two small parcels of land, in close proximity to each other, where fixed east-west solar panels would be erected along with a small substation and inverter. The scheme would cover a total land area of 0.975 hectare and would be connected by power cable indicated on drawing reference 2019005DA Proposed Block Plan. It is intended that this scheme would supply locally generated low-cost renewable energy to local businesses & Industries within the Aerospace Business Park.

Proposed 1.465MW Ground Mounted Solar PV Development Land at Aerospace Business Park, Llanmaes, St Athan, CF62 4QN

What are the material planning considerations?

The following issues were considered to be material planning considerations;
• Principle of Development
• Visual Impact
• Impact on residential amenity
• Highway Impact
• Agricultural Land Quality
• Ecology
• Heritage Impact

The principle of development was established as the land resides within an employment designation and was underutilised. The temporary nature of this renewable technology means that it will not sterilise the employment allocation so the land can be restored following cessation of the development. Agricultural land quality is also tied to this matter. It is almost certain that the land will not serve an agricultural purpose.

As with almost all new developments visual impact had to be taken into consideration. A visual impact assessment was undertaken and found the scheme would not be detrimental to visual amenity from numerous viewpoints in the immediate vicinity.  

The development would be located within several hundred metres of residential properties to the south and east. Of course there was legitimate concern it may create a jarring effect. However, it was considered in the visual impact assessment, the orientation, distance, setting and fields of view from the properties would significantly reduce adverse impact to immediate residents.

Unlike many solar farm developments, the highway infrastructure in this scheme was particularly excellent. As the sites are located within the Business Park amongst aircraft hangers, the land is well served by wide flat roads adjacent to development zones. Furthermore, the delivery of the panels would not last for a prolonged period that would be detrimental to highway safety or function.

The St Athan area has a strong presence of Great Crested Newts (GCN). As a legally protected species  it was necessary to carry out a survey and mitigation strategy to ensure the safety of these creatures whilst the development is implemented.

Interestingly there were numerous heritage assets close to the proposed development site including a Grade II Listed Building and numerous Ancient Scheduled Monuments (ASM). It was decided that the scheme was of sufficient distance and screened to not affect the setting of the listed building. The ASMs were located approximately 1km away from the development at a minimum, thus the impact to these sites would have been negligible. 

What was the Final Planning Decision?

As with most planning decisions, this application was dealt with under delegated powers meaning that the planning officer assessed the planning application against the adopted development plan and made a recommendation of approval to a senior officer. The proposed development was granted full planning permission and ten planning condition were attached. These conditions included no external lighting, further details regarding piling and contamination report. 

By James Banks BSc(Hons) AssocRTPI

By James Banks BSc(Hons) AssocRTPI

Town Planning Consultant and Owner of Alpha Planning & Development

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Posted: 20 December 2019  12:00pm

PROPOSED GROUND MOUNTED SOLAR PV DEVELOPMENT

Where is the scheme located?

Under contract with Cenin Renewables Ltd in Bridgend, James Banks was the lead planning consultant who secured planning permission for a new 1.5MW Ground Mounted Solar Photovoltaic Development on the land at Aerospace Business Park, Llanmaes, St Athan, CF32 4QN. This area of land is north east of Llantwit Major, North of St Athan and approximately 6 km west of Cardiff Airport. The B4265 connects Cardiff Airport to Bridgend along the south and west coast of the Vale whilst St Athan Road to the east and Llantwit Major Road to the west provides a main access from St Athan to Cowbridge and the A48. The application site is situated amongst large green aircraft hangers which were previously utilised by MOD St Athan. This area of land is known as Picketston Business Park consisting of commercial businesses focused on aviation and aircraft maintenance. The scheme is split into two separate brownfield plots with plot one enclosed by hard standing and a hanger north adjacent and plot two by hard standing, the same hanger west adjacent and a hedgerow to the east.

What is the proposed development?

This full planning application proposes the development of 1.5MW of decentralised low carbon energy generation through the installation of a ground mounted photovoltaic (PV) solar array on brownfield land at the Aerospace Business Park, St Athan. The proposed scheme would involve the development of two small parcels of land, in close proximity to each other, where fixed east-west solar panels would be erected along with a small substation and inverter. The scheme would cover a total land area of 0.975 hectare and would be connected by power cable indicated on drawing reference 2019005DA Proposed Block Plan. It is intended that this scheme would supply locally generated low-cost renewable energy to local businesses & Industries within the Aerospace Business Park.

Proposed 1.465MW Ground Mounted Solar PV Development Land at Aerospace Business Park, Llanmaes, St Athan, CF62 4QN

What are the material planning considerations?

The following issues were considered to be material planning considerations;
• Principle of Development
• Visual Impact
• Impact on residential amenity
• Highway Impact
• Agricultural Land Quality
• Ecology
• Heritage Impact

The principle of development was established as the land resides within an employment designation and was underutilised. The temporary nature of this renewable technology means that it will not sterilise the employment allocation so the land can be restored following cessation of the development. Agricultural land quality is also tied to this matter. It is almost certain that the land will not serve an agricultural purpose.

As with almost all new developments visual impact had to be taken into consideration. A visual impact assessment was undertaken and found the scheme would not be detrimental to visual amenity from numerous viewpoints in the immediate vicinity.  

The development would be located within several hundred metres of residential properties to the south and east. Of course there was legitimate concern it may create a jarring effect. However, it was considered in the visual impact assessment, the orientation, distance, setting and fields of view from the properties would significantly reduce adverse impact to immediate residents.

Unlike many solar farm developments, the highway infrastructure in this scheme was particularly excellent. As the sites are located within the Business Park amongst aircraft hangers, the land is well served by wide flat roads adjacent to development zones. Furthermore, the delivery of the panels would not last for a prolonged period that would be detrimental to highway safety or function.

The St Athan area has a strong presence of Great Crested Newts (GCN). As a legally protected species  it was necessary to carry out a survey and mitigation strategy to ensure the safety of these creatures whilst the development is implemented.

Interestingly there were numerous heritage assets close to the proposed development site including a Grade II Listed Building and numerous Ancient Scheduled Monuments (ASM). It was decided that the scheme was of sufficient distance and screened to not affect the setting of the listed building. The ASMs were located approximately 1km away from the development at a minimum, thus the impact to these sites would have been negligible. 

What was the Final Planning Decision?

As with most planning decisions, this application was dealt with under delegated powers meaning that the planning officer assessed the planning application against the adopted development plan and made a recommendation of approval to a senior officer. The proposed development was granted full planning permission and ten planning condition were attached. These conditions included no external lighting, further details regarding piling and contamination report. 

By James Banks BSc(Hons) AssocRTPI

By James Banks BSc(Hons) AssocRTPI

Town Planning Consultant and Owner of Alpha Planning & Development

Contact

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Call us: +44 (0) 7810 810910

Email us: info@alphapd.co.uk

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