Case Study: Planning permission secured for a 30-acre solar farm

Published on: 22nd June 2016

Our planning team helped secure planning permission for a 30-acre solar farm near Wigan on land owned by Lancashire Wildlife Trust.

Owen Pike, associate partner, acted as consultant on behalf of Solstice Renewables, an award-winning independent solar farm developer, on the Cleworth Hall Farm Solar Park located in the Greater Manchester Green Belt. 

Solstice Renewables was established in 2013 and has developed ten solar farms totalling 88 MegaWatts (MW) capacity – enough renewable electricity to power 26,000 typical homes.

As part of the coordination of activity to prepare, submit and negotiate the proposal, we devised a planning strategy for obtaining permission as swiftly as possible, attended councillor briefings and prepared a request for an EIA screening option.

Working with the Greater Manchester Ecology Unit, we were able to demonstrate that the proposals were compatible with the ongoing protection of the great crested newts in the area - a European protected species. This was also important to Solstice Renewables, who prioritises biodiversity and ecological enhancement at all its solar farms.  

Giovanni Maruca, director at Solstice Renewables commented: “Overall we’ve had an excellent experience with Sanderson Weatherall. In the last two years, planning approval for solar farms has become increasingly difficult due to a change in political climate. Sanderson Weatherall was exceptional at working with a challenging and complex case and ensuring we got a positive result that will be beneficial for the local community and the Wildlife Trust.”  

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We provide a complete planning service to a range of private and public sector clients including property owners, occupiers, developers, investors, institutions and local planning authorities in the residential, commercial, renewables, leisure and agricultural sectors. Our advice is based on extensive knowledge of the ever-complex and fast-changing UK planning system.  This enables us to provide bespoke and cost-effective advice at all stages of development from project inception, spatial master planning to negotiating final project delivery. We pride ourselves on always offering one principal point of contact which means our advice is always consistent and provided in a timely manner.  It also means that each member of our team embraces responsibility.  Our collaborative way of working with other technical specialists means we are experts at finding solutions to assist in unlocking latent value. The Planning Process   The basis for decision making is set out on planning legislation, that is, “if regard is to be had to the development plan for the purposes of any determination to be made under the Planning Acts the determination must be made in accordance with the plan unless material considerations indicate otherwise". We apply this approach to each of our planning services.  Our Services We offer the following services: • Planning Strategy Formulation • Planning Appraisals • Planning Applications & Appeals • Community & Stakeholder Engagement • Environmental Impact Assessment • Planning Obligation Negotiation • Land Promotion • Policy Representations • Monitoring Services • Master Planning & Development Briefs • Due Diligence   Contact Us

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Planning Applications and Appeals

We are well versed in a wide range of statutory submissions to Local Planning Authorities and to the Planning Inspectorate, and regularly manage project teams to secure the necessary approvals. We provide the following services for applications for Planning permission, reserved matters, listed building consent, advertisement consent, conservation area consent, prior approval, non-material amendments, minor material amendments, discharging of conditions and certificates of lawfulness: • Identification of design, policy and procedural issues; • Scope of applications and advice on content of development proposals; • Manage the application process – timescales and delivery; • Coordinate the entire application process – taking the lead on the strategy, defining the requirements in terms of consultants, editing their draft reports and plans and submission of application; • Community & stakeholder engagement; • Environmental impact assessment screening, scoping & reporting; • Preparation of application reports – including supporting planning statements, design & access statements, heritage statements, environmental statements (ES), Green Belt justification statements, sequential assessments, statements of community involvement and section 106 heads of terms; • Monitor application, respond to comments from statutory consultees and third parties and resolve any potential objections; • Negotiate details and potential design changes with local planning authorities and statutory consultees; • Review suitability of draft planning conditions; • Assess Section 106 obligation drafting; and, • Attend planning committee, if necessary, and present case in support of proposed development.   We also provide the following services related to our planning application capabilities:   • Variation of conditions – establish the likelihood of getting a condition varied and coordinate the preparation, submission and negotiation of applications; • Removal of conditions – establish the likelihood of getting a condition removed and coordinate the preparation, submission and negotiation of applications; • Advice in relation to the lawfulness of existing or proposed land uses; and, • Advice in relation to threatened or issued enforcement.   We have extensive understanding of appeal procedures so are able to lodge appeals against refusals of planning permission, or non determination, and present cases by written representation, public hearing or public inquiry.  We are able to prepare and coordinate robust appeal documents, including: • Statements of Case; • Proofs of Evidence; and, • Statements of Common Ground. Contact Us

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