Solar farm at Dobbs Estate granted plannning approval

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Mid and East Antrim Council has given the green light for a solar farm on land at Dobbs Estate on the edge of Carrick.

Council’s Planning Committee unanimously agreed to support the planner’s recommendation to approve subject to planning conditions.

Members were told by planner Denise Kerr that the proposal was for a farm with an output of approximately 9.81 megawatts and associated infrastructure.

Solar panels would be on free standing support frames 2.4m high and that the pole-mounted CCTV and fence would be of similar height to the frames.

She said the amended scheme before them had the support of the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment, was considered acceptable within the planning and policy context, there were no objections from statutory consultees subject to conditions, but two letters of objections had been received.

She also stated that Northern Ireland Environment Agency’s Historic Monuments had highlighted concerns regarding archaeological sites within the Castle Dobbs estate but had withdrawn these following the reduction of the development.

In support of the applicant Lightsource, Aidan Collins, a senior planner with Lightsource, said the proposal would “make a significant contribution to renewable energy generation” He underlined there had been no statutory consultee objections and that the original application had been reduced in scale.

He said the landowner was an existing sheep farmer who intended to graze after construction of the site which, he added, will be screened and which will be dismantled after its 30-35 years lifespan and the site restored.