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Our planning team were delighted to secure planning permission for the first ever solar park in Torbay, Devon. The £3.1 million scheme, at Nightingale Park will see renewable energy created for Torbay hospital fed to the site from an underground cable. Torbay Hospital will be using the power generated by the solar array to support its plans to become carbon neutral.

The team led two public consultation exercises; the first comprised a presentation to Torquay Neighbourhood Plan Group and the second included an in person public exhibition held in the local community. They then prepared a detailed Planning, Design and Access Statement which set out a strong case in support of the proposal and a Statement of Community Involvement which summarised the feedback received from the groups consulted and actions taken in response. The application was recommended for approval by the Planning Officer and subsequently a resolution to grant planning permission was secured at Torbay Planning Committee.

Nightingale Park is a former landfill site which was in use from the 1950’s until the 1980’s. This new solar park will provide 3.2-megawatt peak of power directly to Torbay Hospital and can provide energy for approximately 25 years. The solar panels will cover 3.9 hectares extending to 5.82 hectares, equivalent to seven football pitches. The plans also include enhancements to the wider area of Nightingale Park including improvements to the circular walk, provision of exercise equipment so that the community can continue to enjoy the open space. More hedgerows will be put in to help and improve the already existing wildlife.

The application for the 13ha site was led by partner Sarah De Renzy-Tomson and planner Victoria Heath who was integral to the project and secured her first planning permission for us. Sarah said: “We are thrilled to have led the planning application process for this high-profile project which is the first ground mounted solar park scheme to seek a resolution to grant consent in Torbay, Devon. The scheme is intended to supply the nearby Torbay hospital with renewable energy and will make an important contribution towards addressing the climate emergency declared by Torbay Council’.

Victoria added: “Following engagement with the community and working with the ecologists and landscape consultants we were keen to ensure that the proposal also included enhancements to the landscape and accessibility of the wider Nightingale Park for the benefit of the residents. I was particularly pleased with how the layout of the proposals developed which included the solar panels within the centre the site, a perimeter footpath, and a substantial area beyond retained for landscaping and ecological benefit”.

Procurement of a contractor to carry out the work will now take place with work starting towards the end of this year.

For more information on our planning services click here. To download a copy of our planning brochure click here.