Colnbrook Solar Farm developer set to appeal – but ¬£360,000 community sweetener is off the table
The developer behind a proposed solar farm in Colnbrook, rejected before Christmas, is appealing. But the Community¬†Funding ‘sweetener’ offered before has been dropped and will be replaced with a less attractive package¬†.
The Parish Council meeting on 1st March was told that¬†Sirius SBC Renewables, intend to appeal November’s decision to reject an application to build a solar farm on farmland¬†between Park Street and the Hilton Terminal 5 in Poyle.
Planning Committee members said the application¬†would¬†see a¬†further fragmentation¬†of¬†the Green Belt and the ‚Äúloss of important open land within the Strategic Gap at Colnbrook and Poyle‚ÄĚ.
The Parish Council, which last time around had expressed interest in the developer’s offer of a proposed¬†¬£360,000 ‚ÄúCommunity Benefit Fund‚ÄĚ paid in installments over 25 years, was told that a community funding sweetener to the proposals is still on the table but that “this will be less that previously calculated and will be a one off payment”.
… the Parish Council neither supported, or objected to the proposal but considered the proposed funds could be put to good use in the parish
The Parish Council’s position on the matter remains somewhat unclear.
Cllr Richardson had spoken of the benefits to the parish the money could bring while, at its meeting on 17th November last year,¬†Cllr Hood proposed, and Cllr Bryant seconded, that the chair speak at the Planning Panel meeting later that month “in support of the proposed Community Benefit Fund that the application would bring about“. ¬†Councillors voted 4 in favour and 1 against.
However, shortly after rejection of the scheme, Cllr Hood claimed that the parish had not supported the Green Belt development, only the possibility of additional funding.
At the first full parish council meeting in January Cllr Hood told fellow members that, contrary to the November vote, he had taken the opportunity instead only to “outline the local community fund” and insisted that “the Parish Council neither supported, or objected to the proposal but considered the proposed funds could be put to good use in the parish”.
Nevertheless, Parish minutes note frustration that the¬†deputy leader of the Council, Cllr James Swindlehurst, had “essentially proposed that the application be thrown out without debate and that is what happened”.
In January, the owner of the land, former Windsor mayor Cllr Colin Rayner, also¬†criticised restrictions placed on developing the Green Belt.