The Proposals

BSR Barton Close Farm Solar Park, Devon

BSR’s proposals for Land at Leamington Road would deliver the following:

  • A solar development with a total export capacity of up to 16.8MW. This is the equivalent energy production to powering 4,201 homes every year and would result in the reduction of 3,721 tonnes of CO2 per year being emitted into the atmosphere.
  • A significant opportunity for biodiversity to continue on the site. Solar panels only disturb around 5% of the ground, allowing for plants to continue to grow and animals to still pass through the site.
  • At least a minimum of 60% increase in Biodiversity Net Gain, meeting and far exceeding the 10% target as outlined in the Environment Act 2021.
  • The retention and management of existing habitats on site, to ensure that there is no detrimental impact on the existing condition of the habitat over the lifespan of the development. This would include the retention of existing trees and hedgerows, and the replanting of any removed hedgerows with native species and the installation of bat and bird boxes across the site.
  • The improvement of the condition of existing habitats and creation of new habitats to enhance biodiversity on site. It’s likely that this will include:
  1. The creation of new native hedgerows where required;
  2. Infill hedgerow planting where gaps occur in the existing vegetation, for betterment of the existing landscape and along the Public Right of Way (PROW); and
  3. New grassland and wildflower planting which will also enrich the area by the stream which runs along the eastern boundary 

The above site layout plan indicates the proposed location for the solar panels, underground cable connection route, and substation location.

  • A layout designed to minimise and mitigate any limited impact it may have on the character of the area, including the nearby Sites of Special Scientific Interest, Wappenbury Wood and Old Nun Wood. Solar developments are generally unobstructive to views as they do not require height, and BSR makes every effort to use trees and planting to screen its projects.
  • The development will have an expected operational lifespan of 40 years, after which the land can be easily returned to agricultural use.
  • An affordable and efficient form of green energy which is an important part of ensuring the energy independence of the United Kingdom and working towards fulfilling the Government’s net zero targets by 2050.

BSR selects sites for solar development based on where there is a viable grid connection nearby, as this can often be a factor which makes many sites unviable for solar development. BSR would always seek to select land of a low agricultural grade near to these connections, where these are available. The Land at Leamington road is understood to be Grade 3, meaning it is only Moderate – Good. An assessment has recently been undertaken to confirm the land grade. The development of solar in this location will also allow the local farmer the opportunity for a guaranteed, stable income, compared to farming the land, supporting the farms wider activities.

Heritage assessment

A detailed Heritage Assessment has been undertaken. This assessment has identified that the site cannot be seen from any heritage asset and only the top of the tower of the Grade II* Listed church at Princethorpe College can be seen from parts of the site.  Overall, the proposed solar development will not affect how any heritage asset in the surrounding area would be experienced or viewed and thereby it is concluded that there will be no harm to their heritage significance.’