Plans to build a 23 hectare (56 acres) photovoltaic array and ancillary development at Tean has been recommended for approval.
The development, planned at Lower Newton Farm, Draycott Road, Tean, would comprise of approximately 47,300 solar panels mounted in tables across 23 hectares of, at present, cultivated agricultural land. The tables of panels, 4.1 metre wide, would be laid out in a geometric grid of parallel rows, tilted at 25 degrees to face south.
The application predicts that the solar farm would generate 11.5MWh per annum reducing carbon emissions by 5680 tonnes per annum and equalling the typical consumption of 3480 households. The electricity generated would be exported to the National Grid. Connection to the grid would be underground although the route has not been confirmed.
A final decision on the application will be made by members of Staffordshire Moorlands District Council’s planning applications committee this Thursday.
In recommending approval of the application, planning officer Arne Swithenbank said: “There would be glimpses of the development from the fast moving A50. The site would be very clearly seen, if relatively fleetingly, from passing trains.
“A public footpath right of way passes through the proposal area, and numbers of other public rights of way would afford views of the site, particularly from the land area to the south and south-west. The site is otherwise remarkably set apart.
“Few properties would have close views of the site with the closest found to be Paynsley Hall Farm immediately to the south-west. Some numbers of generally isolated properties to the south and south-west would have views of the site.”
Following consultation a statement from Draycott in the Moors Parish Council said: “Given lengthy and careful consideration this proposal raised no objections whatsoever and all thought that it was a well-planned, innovative use of this particular piece of land.”
Mr Swithenbank added: “In conclusion there is clear national policy support for renewable energy which weighs heavily in favour of the development, supported by local as well as Government policy.
“Wide economic and environmental benefits attach to renewable energy proposals and are significant material considerations which have to be given substantial weight. The delivery of renewable and low carbon energy and associated infrastructure is identified as being central to the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development. In this case the proposal could be capable of generating power equivalent to the average annual needs of some 3,480 households.”