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  • TP Editorial Team

Green light for Green Belt Solar

We are delighted to have received planning permission on behalf of our clients, Copt Heath Golf Club, for a ground mounted solar scheme including an extension to the clubhouse for a plant room and associated works at the Golf Club on Warwick Road at Knowle

The proposal would meet 100% of the Golf Club’s energy needs and be installed for a period of 40 years.

The planning permission followed on from our pre-application submission to Solihull Council. Following that initial advice, the Club proceeded with a roof-top solar scheme under permitted development rights, and a smaller ground mounted solar development was brought forward. The approved ground mounted solar is proposed on 1.2 hectares of Green Belt land at Copt Heath Golf Club, which itself is surrounded by urban development. Other than Green Belt, there were no other constraints on the site apart from the Grade II Listed Longdon Hall located within the centre of the Golf Club. However, Green Belt is a significant constraint and in light of the associated planning policy, the Council considered the development to be inappropriate in principle in the Green Belt. There would also be harm to the openness of the Green Belt, and conflict with one of the purposes of including land within it, namely encroachment. National policy requires that where elements of renewable energy projects in the Green Belt are inappropriate, very special circumstances are required to outweigh this inappropriateness, which may include the wider environmental benefits associated with increased production of energy from renewable sources.

In the case of the solar scheme at Copt Heath Golf Club, we successfully argued that the benefits of the scheme are numerous and include providing an annual saving of 67.8 tonnes of Co2 (the equivalent of 3,113 trees) and contribute to cutting greenhouse gas emissions. The scheme would also provide a significant increase in habitat with around 110% net biodiversity gain. Given the national targets for a transition towards a low carbon future; the importance attached to the objective by Solihull Council who have declared a climate emergency; the clear support given to renewable energy development in national policy; and the support for renewable energy within Solihull’s Local Plan, it was evident to the Council that the proposal would provide very significant environmental benefits.

In approving the planning application, Solihull’s planning officer agreed that having considered the totality of the benefits of the proposed development against the totality and nature of its harm, overall, the benefits clearly outweighed the extent of harm created, and it was agreed that we had put presented clear and robust very special circumstances in this case sufficient to justify the grant of planning permission. Our clients are understandably delighted.

If you have a renewable energy proposal you would like to promote, please do contact us.



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