Concerns over car parking, noise, highway safety and the distress caused to those visiting a neighbouring cemetery have led to amended plans for an energy storage plant in Bishops Itchington to be thrown out by councillors.
Planning was originally granted for the Walworth Farm site alongside the village cemetery off the B4451 Gaydon Road back in January 2017.
The scheme - put forward by Anesco Ltd which claims to be the UK’s leading renewable energy company - was for eight shipping containers which would hold batteries that would provide back-up energy to the National Grid. One of the conditions required acoustic fencing to be erected to reduce the noise and for tree planting and other landscaping to try and screen the site from those attending services or visiting the cemetery.
Planning officer Joe Brooke told a meeting of Stratford District Council’s Planning East committee that while the amended plans would see the number of storage containers increased from eight to 12, fewer ancillary buildings would be used so the total area covered would increase by just 26 sq m. He added that a survey of the site meant that the containers needed to be moved 10m closer to the cemetery for safety reasons.
But while his recommendation was to grant permission for the amended plans, councillors were unhappy with the new arrangements. There were also objections from both Harbury and Bishops Itchington Parish Councils, 15 individuals and a petition with nearly 200 names had also been received.
Cllr Anne Parry (Con Wellesbourne East) said: “I remember the first application for the eight units and remember it being a finely balanced decision and one of the key factors was that the containers were set so far back and that there were only eight in number.
“From my perspective I fell it is a case of overdevelopment of the site and I think there is an impact on the amenity of neighbouring amenities so I cannot support this application.”
And Cllr Chris Kettle (Con Bishops Itchington) said: “This application is adjacent to a cemetery, a chapel, a fishing lake and a farmyard and has no place here in the countryside but we are where we are.”
“While the fence is necessary for acoustic reasons to protect the cemetery, the impact of a solid wall will emphasise the extraordinary nature of this industrial application in this setting.
“This application is a significant increase on what was approved and I request that you reject this unwarranted variation on the site.”
Councillors at the planning meeting agreed with the majority voting to refuse permission due to over development and an increase in urbanisation.