Unfair photomontages

EGMANTON PARISH MEETING

Ms Laura Gardener
Case officer NSDC
Proposed solar farm construction off Weston Road, Egmanton
Reference: 13/01422/FULM

Introduction
Some 40 residents of Egmanton Parish met on the evening of 17th February 2014 to discuss the “additional information” in relation to the above proposal as received on 10th February 2014 – see my email to planning@nsdc.info dated that same day.

This, our third letter, gives our considered reply to the photomontages submitted as per our previous request and adds three further points to our earlier objections to the solar farm.

Photomontages.
Residents of Egmanton village consider that the images submitted do not give a fair and balanced view of how the solar farm will appear as a permanent landscape to the East of the village. Specifically, the photographs have not been taken from the places within, and approaching, the village that represent the actual situation that will exist if this proposal is approved.

New photographs should be taken from:-
• The bridle path on Hagg Lane at a point where it starts to descend after the barrier on leaving Egmanton Common Farm
• The bridle path from the corner of Egmanton Wood
• The bridle path that is Burnmoor Lane and which in turn is the location of the nearest properties to the proposed site. Images need taking at several points along this lane to illustrate its significance to the landscape as it approaches the A1 trunk road.
• Points on Weston road approaching Egmanton village and not as is shown on the current pictures by standing inside a gateway to a local market garden which is in a dip.

Discussion at our meeting emphasised that on the bridle paths, images should be taken at horse-back height since horse riding is a principal activity with over 30 horses and ponies stabled in the village. Furthermore, because of the rising nature of the proposed site, it would not be possible to screen the site with hedges. A much more serious tree planting scheme would be needed almost certainly including Poplars or similar tree varieties. Such a screening plan would however bring its own problems given the danger of vegetation shelter of Weston Road which, without wanting in any way to dramatise this response, has been the scene of two fatalities in recent years.

Conclusion.
Residents of Egmanton have no issue with the quality of the montages supplied as late additional information or with the specialist firm asked to carry out the task or the equipment used. Rather, the viewpoints are highly selective in favour of the developer and not representative of what will actually be the visual experience of residents post installation. For a balance view of the visual representation of the proposed solar farm, villagers urge the planning committee to compare the new pictures suggested with those currently supplied. It is relevant to mention that ADAS as part of a consultation with the village for a proposed turbine in the same locality (adding to the digestor plant already approved) have agreed to commission new photomontages to supplement ones they have submitted and for precisely the reasons set out in this letter.
Three further points supporting objection to the proposed solar farm.
The Trent Valley Internal Drainage Board in a letter to a resident dated 13th February (posted on the NSDC website) has stated:-
“We also advised the applicant that the Board support the principles of sustainable drainage systems (SUDS) which effectively restricts surface water run-off to the greenfield rates”. “As also stated in the response to the planning authority we advised the applicant that we are undertaking modelling studies to inform the design process for the proposed Egmanton Flood Risk Alleviation Scheme”.

Website eusoils.jrc.ec.europa.eu states “It is almost impossible to avoid topsoil compaction. On the other hand, tillage and natural processes can re-loosen the topsoil”. This is relevant to sheep farming over a 25 year period on the same land.

The law. “Flies in the face of the will of the local community”. Deputy High Court Judge Robin Purchas, sitting in London, upholding a refusal by North Norfolk Council quoting section 66(1) of the Planning (Listed Building and Conservation Areas) Act.

`J G Smith FCCA – honorary treasurer Egmanton Parish Meeting.
19 February 2014