Hazelbury Bryan Neighbourhood Plan and the solar power plant.

The Developers image (8), at ground level, indicating the view of the panels on part of the site in just four of the eleven fields – looking West from Hazelbury Bryan

The Prime Minister has confirmedoffshore wind will produce more than enough electricity to power every home in the country by 2030”

The local community understand that offshore wind will supply the low carbon energy we must have to effectively combat global warming and climate change – and at significantly lower carbon costs than solar.

When the Parish residents were first asked what they liked most about living in Hazelbury Bryan, one common response was “the attractiveness of the area, the peace and quiet”.

The Neighbourhood Plan recognises that it cannot sort out every issue facing the community BUT, it can influence where developments are constructed and “it can help safeguard some of the things the community value the most” including the “enjoyment of our beautiful countryside”. In section 3.2. of the Plan (Location and Environment) it’s noted that the “features particularly valued by the local community include the: “narrow country roads and lanes and with open fields between them; the many rights of way and opportunities to enjoy the surrounding countryside, the general peace and quiet” and “the surrounding hills and views out across the rolling countryside of Thomas Hardy’s Wessex.”

The plan also makes clear that “the attributes of Hazelbury Bryan –its rural nature and its strong sense of community, remain largely unchanged.” And that the Plans purpose is “to protect”, as far as possible, “the current environment in all its aspects.”

In the Plans section ‘Reinforcing Local Landscape Character’ paragraph 4.1 notes “The Plan area sits within the rolling and clay vales associated with the Blackmore Vale Landscape Character Area 1. The Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) covers a small strip within the southern edge of the parish”. That places the Parish, its protected Conservation Area and the heritage and Listed buildings within it, within the nationally protected ANOB – and well within its setting.

The Neighbourhood Plan Policy HB1. – Reinforcing Local Landscape Character

states “Development should respect and, where practicable, enhance local landscape character”.

Although the proposed 188-acre power plant is not in the Hazelbury Bryan parish, its incongruous industrial appearance, and huge size, so close to the Villages (680 metres), is certain to harm the setting of the Hazelbury Bryan Conservation Area and the setting of the protected heritage buildings within it. In turn, and as already mentioned, the setting of the designated AONB will also be significantly harmed.

It would be perverse for the Parish Council to overlook the wishes of the parishioners (who voted for the Neighbourhood Plan in the February 2019 Referendum) and to consider commenting in support of a development which even the Applicants (in the Preliminary Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment) accept would change and cause significant visually harm the landscape and the homes in it.  

How foolish it would be to trash 188 acres of food productive farmland after the Government has announced its major low carbon ‘green’ energy policy change. The solar power station proposal definitely comes at the wrong time – and certainly would be in the wrong place! – and contrary to so much of the, recently adopted Hazelbury Bryan Neighbourhood Plan.

For more information see: ‘Save Hardy’s Vale’ Web and Facebook pages

An ‘impression’ of the solar power plant – just some 880 metres from homes in Pleck lane!

Here is the Hazelbury Neighbourhood Plan

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