Controversial solar farm plan refused planning permission

Local architect Jane Burnside speaks to Ronan Kilduff of Elgin Energy at a public meeting held in 2015, about the solar farm proposal for Kells.
Local architect Jane Burnside speaks to Ronan Kilduff of Elgin Energy at a public meeting held in 2015, about the solar farm proposal for Kells.
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The Department for Infrastrusture has issued notice to refuse a planning application for a controversial solar farm near Kells.

Bristol-based Elgin Energy had proposed to create a 50 megawatt solar PV development on 200 acres of land in the Whappstown Road area as part of a £50m development.

The company’s Ronan Kilduff said at the time of the application being mooted: “This will be one of the largest projects under consideration in the UK and when completed will represent an overall investment of over £50,000,000.”

The company’s plan had garnered huge opposition from the local community in Kells when the planning application was submitted two years ago. A total of 1,054 objections were received in relation to the application.

People living in the local area voiced concerns that it would create “an eyesore” and set a precedent for other developments.

Among those who previously voiced concerns was local architect, Jane Burnside, who commented at the time: “This is a very scenic area. Walkers, cyclists and horse riders use it all the time. But this would turn it into an industrial wasteland.

“Even in England there is nothing on this scale.”

Due to the nature of the application, it was deemed to be ‘Regionally Significant’ and was therefore processed by the Department for Infrastructure’s Strategic Planning Division.

The solar farm was one of six applications to have received decisions by the department recently.

A spokesperson for the Department of Infrastructure said: “The Department has carefully considered each application and is cognisant of its statutory duty to process planning applications and reach decisions on planning related matters.

“On that basis, the Department believes that it is in the public interest to take these decisions without further delay.”