PLANS for a new solar farm in Little Chalfield have been thrown out by the Planning Inspectorate after it ruled that the potential harm on nearby listed buildings would outweigh the benefits of generated renewable energy.

The proposed development was for the construction of a 12 megawatt solar farm on 25 hectares of land west of Ganbrook Farm, Broughton Gifford, built by developers Sun Edison and Solar Planning Limited.

However, this week the Planning Inspectorate upheld Wiltshire Council’s refusal of the application after it concluded that the proposed development would conflict with the Core Strategy policies regarding heritage assets.

If plans went ahead for the development, it would be the third solar farm in the area, producing enough electricity to power 2,500 homes for a year for a period of 25 years.

Initial plans were met by opposition by residents with more than 100 people submitting letters to Wiltshire Council urging it to refuse the application.

Broughton Gifford resident Martin Freeman said he was delighted at the decision.

He added: “Solar farms shouldn’t be built on greenbelt land between beautiful listed buildings and it isn’t the place for them.

“A lot of the arguments are very similar between the solar farms and people have seen the horror of what has happened with Norrington and they were more aware to put their arguments forward.”

The decision comes only weeks after Broughton Gifford resident Daniel Gerber successfully took Wiltshire Council to the High Court on the grounds that the multi-million pound Norrington solar farm was unlawfully granted.

He said he only became aware of the development when it was being installed and believes Wiltshire Council failed to consult conservation body English Heritage on the impacts it would have on his Grade II listed home Gifford Hall.

English Heritage’s input in the decision on Little Chalfield was seen to confirm residents’ concerns about the damage to the landscape if the plans were to go ahead which would be less than one mile from the Norrington Solar Farm.

In the report, inspector Brian Cook said: “I consider the main issues for my determination of the appeal [Little Chalfield] to be the effect that the development would have on the landscape character and appearance and the setting of the heritage assets in the area.”

Mr Cook added that he was aware of the positive contribution that renewable and low carbon energy schemes have on the Government’s climate change policies however he did not feel that this would outweigh the harms implicated on the landscape.

A SunEdison spokesperson said: “We are disappointed with the Planning Inspectorate’s decision as the Little Chalfield solar farm had the potential to generate enough low carbon electricity to power around 2,500 local homes and contribute to the Government’s solar strategy. SunEdison will continue to develop its pipeline of projects across the country in order to provide more clean energy to the UK.”