Local Plan: Preferred Options Consultation

We are reviewing our adopted Local Plan. We are consulting on the Preferred Options stage NOW! The consultation closes at 4pm on Wednesday 19 June 2024. 

Our Climate and Ecological Emergency Declaration aims to reduce carbon and greenhouse gas emissions, and plan for a more sustainable future.

We recognise that solar energy can help meet targets for reducing carbon emissions and reliance on fossil fuels, as well as provide energy security. Solar energy can also contribute to sustainable agriculture, giving farmers and landowners an income stream, providing benefits to local ecosystems and wildlife and supporting local employment.

We support the principle of solar energy development, provided we can help manage the environmental impacts via the planning application process.

You can find more information in our Solar Farm Development Supplementary Planning Document.

We have received a number of planning applications for solar farms over the last few years, so we have listed them on this page.

The site extends to around 33 hectares and is located west of Hackmans Lane, about 1.6km northeast of Woodham Ferrers.

The site comprises an irregular shaped greenfield parcel of land, which is currently in agricultural use. The site falls across both the Chelmsford City Council and Maldon District Council administrative areas.

The Applicant is Anglo Renewables Ltd.

The planning application seeks consent for a solar farm together with sub-station, ancillary buildings, structures, landscaping, emergency lighting and access.

We have devolved planning powers to Maldon District Council, meaning they will determine this application. You can view the application on Maldon District Council's website, under the reference 23/00807/FULM.

Maldon District Council refused planning permission on 1 February 2024. You can find the decision notice and committee information on their website.

The site comprises land totalling 66.1 hectares. It would be connected via an underground cable route to the National Grid sub-station at Rayleigh. This means the application crosses into the neighbouring Rochford District. The land is within the Metropolitan Green Belt.

The Applicant is Enso Green Holdings J Limited.

The planning application seeks consent for the installation of a large solar farm, with associated development, including sub-station, battery storage, underground cabling and landscaping.

We considered the application at Planning Committee on 5 December 2023. We issued a decision on 6 December 2023, refusing planning permission. 

You can view details of the planning application on Public Access under reference 23/00532/FUL.

The site is across two parcels of land to the north of the A414 between the A12 Sandon junction and the western edge of Danbury. The land is within the rural area, beyond the Green Belt.

The applicant is Low Carbon Limited.

The site covers 37.7 ha and the proposal is for the installation of a solar photovoltaic (PV) park generating up to 25 MW of electricity.

It would comprise ground-mounted photovoltaic solar arrays and battery-based electricity storage containers.

There will also be:

  • a substation
  • inverter/transformer stations
  • site accesses
  • grid connection cables
  • internal access tracks
  • security measures
  • access gates
  • other ancillary infrastructure
  • landscaping
  • biodiversity enhancements

We have now granted planning permission. 

You can view the details on Public Access via 21/00081/FUL.

The site sits across three parcels of land to the east and west of the A130 and north and south of Canons Barn Road. It is located next to Anglian Water Treatment works at Hanningfield Reservoir. The land is within the Metropolitan Green Belt.

The applicant is Low Carbon Limited.

The site covers 86.75 hectares of land and the proposal is for the installation of a solar photovoltaic (PV) park generating up to 49.9 MW of electricity. 

The proposal includes a connection mast up to 35m tall, which would be sited at Church Road, Linkhouse Farm junction.

It comprises ground mounted photovoltaic solar arrays and battery-based electricity storage containers.

There will also be:

  • inverters/transformer stations and a Distribution Network Operator sub-station
  • access and cable connection to the mast to connect to 132 kV power line
  • customer substation/switchgear and meter kiosk
  • batteries
  • internal buried cabling and grid connection cables
  • internal access tracks
  • security fencing and gates, and CCTV cameras
  • other ancillary infrastructure
  • landscaping
  • biodiversity enhancements

We refused this application on 9 December 2021. The applicant appealed the decision, which then went to an Inspector from the Planning Inspectorate. The Inspector decided to allow the appeal and granted planning permission for the solar farm on 6 February 2023.

You can view details of the planning application and the appeal decision on Public Access under reference 21/00394/FUL.

The site is on a single parcel of land, to the south of Canons Barn Road to the east of Canons Barn Bridge. Canons Barn Road provides access to Anglian Water Treatment works at Hanningfield Reservoir. The land is within the Metropolitan Green Belt.

The applicant is Bluestone Energy Limited.

The application site covers 14 hectares of land and the proposal is for the installation of a solar photovoltaic (PV) park generating up to 8 MW of electricity. 

It comprises ground mounted photovoltaic solar arrays.

There will also be:

  • a substation
  • internal access tracks
  • transformers/inverters
  • fencing and gates
  • CCTV cameras
  • temporary construction compound
  • underground cable and connection to end user
  • other ancillary infrastructure
  • landscaping
  • biodiversity enhancements

We have now granted planning permission. 

You can view the details on Public Access via 21/00502/FUL.

The site is on a single parcel of land to the west of Hill Farm, north of Pan Lane, East Hanningfield. The land is within the rural area beyond the Green Belt.

The applicant is Cell Energy Ltd.

The application site covers 68.20 hectares of land and the proposal is for the installation of a solar photovoltaic (PV) park generating up to 41.8 MW of electricity. 

It comprises ground mounted photovoltaic solar arrays and battery-based storage containers.

There will also be:

  • inverters/transformer stations and a Distribution Network Operator (DNO) sub-station
  • customer substation/switchgear and meter kiosk
  • internal buried cabling and grid connection cables
  • internal access tracks
  • security fencing and gates, and CCTV cameras
  • upgraded existing site access
  • other ancillary infrastructure
  • landscaping
  • biodiversity enhancements

We have now granted planning permission.

You can view details of the planning application, including the Planning Committee Report and decision notice, on Public Access under reference 21/00555/FUL.

You can view the applications online.

Some of the application documents feature detailed information and are large in size. You may find it easier to download and view these documents on a desktop computer, rather than on a smartphone or tablet.

Once you have viewed the applications, if the application is still live, you can make a comment via Public Access. (You will not be able to comment if we have already made a decision on the application.)

After you have commented, you can click on the ‘Track’ button (at the top tight of the screen). You can then get updates about progress on the application.

This site is on land north east of Chelmsford, between Boreham, Hatfield Peverel, Great Leighs and Terling. The site falls across both the Chelmsford City Council and Braintree District Council administrative areas. 

About the decision-making process for this application

A solar farm of this scale is a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project. This means the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy needs to approve it, through a Development Consent Order (DCO).

We were a consultee on the DCO application and were not responsible for deciding on it. 

The Planning Inspectorate accepted the DCO for examination on 28 March 2022. The Secretary of State granted development consent on 26 June 2023.

You can find details of the application, including the Secretary of State's decision, statement of reasons and the Order granting development consent on the Planning Inspectorate’s website

About the proposal

The proposal for the solar farm includes:

  • ground mounted solar photovoltaic (PV) panels to generate electricity from the sun
  • battery storage to allow Longfield to import, store and export electricity to the National Grid
  • grid connection infrastructure, which allows export or import of up to 500MW of electricity to and from the National Grid
  • supporting infrastructure, such as sub-stations, inverters, transformers, switchgear and internal cabling
  • areas for landscaping, habitat and biodiversity improvements and mitigation
  • other associated infrastructure needed for the construction and operation of the site, such as construction compounds, access tracks and welfare facilities

The project is a joint venture between EDF Renewables (EDFR) and Padero Solar, and the applicant is Longfield Solar Energy Farm Limited.

You can find out more about the project, consultation and FAQs on the Longfield Solar Farm project website.

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