Rocklands Private Caravan Park, Rocklands Lane, Hastings
Erection of 13 ground based solar panels on hardstanding to be retained with associated cabling and wall mounted controllers
26 letters of objection received.
The Principal Planner, Mr Batchelor, presented this report for the erection of 13 ground based solar panels on hardstanding to be retained with associated cabling and wall mounted controllers at Rocklands Private Caravan Park.
The site is within Rocklands Private Caravan Park, along Rocklands Lane, surrounded by Hastings Country Park and within the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The solar panels are located to the north-east of Rocklands House, the site’s owners’ accommodation, with the ancillary cabling and mounting being attached to the house and its boundary retaining wall.
The application is partly retrospective, because the hardstanding already exists. Some solar panels are already on site (currently in a different configuration to that proposed) and the cabling and wall-mounted controllers are already installed (although this proposal includes the burying and pinning of some cabling).
Each solar panel is 1m by 1.6m, which at a 30 degree angle on a timber base makes the installation approximately 1.15m tall. The panels are proposed to be split into two arrays – one of 6 panels and one of 7 panels.
This application follows a refusal for the retention of some solar panels in a position closer to, and directly east of, Rocklands House. No objections have been received from statutory consultees. A number of representations have been received from Save Ecclesbourne Glen campaign group and residents. The main issues to consider were the principal of development, the impact on the landscape, the impact on heritage assets and the impact on biodiversity and trees. He considered that the proposals in their new location overcome the reason for the refusal of the previous application and do not cause any harm to landscape character, historic assets or matters of biodiversity.
Members were shown plans and photographs of the application site.
Mr Batchelor explained that the glinting of sunlight on the solar panels would be similar to a pond or still water, only to be experienced at certain times of the year between March and September and at certain angles. He stressed that this will not in any way be harmful.
Mr Batchelor explained what the differences were between the previous application that had been refused and the current application. He said that the main difference was that the previous application encroached onto the scheduled monument area. Although in a slightly different location, the current application sits outside of the ancient monument and is less harmful to the AONB, the Country Park and ecological areas.
Councillor Edwards proposed a motion to approve the application as set out in the resolution below. This was seconded by Councillor Rogers.
RESOLVED – by (9 votes to 1 against) that planning permission be granted subject to the following conditions:-
The development hereby permitted shall be begun before the expiration of three years from the date of this permission;
The development hereby permitted shall be carried out in accordance with the following approved plans:
The existing hedgerow surrounding the solar panel array, and shown on approved drawing no. 11.396/13D, shall be retained the whole time the solar panels remain in situ and shall be maintained at a height at or above the highest part of the solar panel array when measured from any part of the hedgerow. Should the hedgerow become damaged, diseased or die it should be replaced within the next planting season at a planting height that is greater than the solar panels.
This condition is imposed in accordance with the provisions of Section 91 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990;
For the avoidance of doubt and in the interests of proper planning; and
In the interest of protecting the setting of designated heritage assets and the local landscape.
Notes to the Applicant
Failure to comply with any condition imposed on this permission may result in enforcement action without further warning; and
Statement of positive engagement: In dealing with this application Hastings Borough Council has actively sought to work with the applicant in a positive and proactive manner, in accordance with paragraphs 186 and 187 of the National Planning Policy Framework.
- MAP_Rocklands_HS_FA_17_00294, item 10a PDF 279 KB
- Rocklands Private Caravan Park, Rocklands Lane, Hastings, item 10a PDF 122 KB