Sawmills Solar Park plan gets the green light thanks to Sanderson Weatherall

Bristol-based chartered surveyor and property consultancy Sanderson Weatherall has helped secure planning permission for a solar park at the Ashcombe Estate, near Dawlish, Devon on behalf of Solstice Renewables.

The overall site area is 29 hectares, with the area covered by solar panels comprising 17 hectares. With a capacity of 7.5 MW it will generate enough electricity to power the equivalent of approximately 2,100 average homes annually, which is around one third of the homes in Dawlish.  The solar park would also save an estimated 2,700 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually.

Agents for Sanderson Weatherall devised a planning strategy and coordinated the preparation and submission of the application, attended the public exhibition and successfully negotiated planning permission for the development, which was granted by delegated authority without any pre-commencement conditions.

The site is very well screened within the landscape and a substantial programme of ecological improvements formed a key part of the planning application. The solar park also adjoins two Sites of Special Scientific Interest. Sanderson Weatherall and Solstice Renewables worked closely with consultees such as Natural England and local planning officers to ensure the application was acceptable.

Giovanni Maruca, director of Solstice Renewables, said: “Sawmills Solar Park will bring excellent benefits to the local community, with a dedicated community fund, educational benefits and substantial biodiversity improvements, as well as providing locally-generated renewable electricity. Sanderson Weatherall’s town planning team was helpful and knowledgeable and steered us smoothly through the planning application process.”

Sawmills Solar Park is located within the Ashcombe Estate, 3.2km west of Dawlish.  The site is ideal for this purpose, thanks to the high average sun hours, good grid connections and transport links, and the bowl-shaped landscape which will naturally screen the park from view.

Commenting on the deal, Sanderson Weatherall’s associate partner in the town planning department, Owen Pike, said: “As we operate across the south west of England, we were ideally placed to assist and advise Solstice Renewables throughout the planning process.  We are very satisfied with getting the result that our client wanted, and look forward to seeing the project progress in 2015.”

Sanderson Weatherall’s Bristol office employs 13 staff and operates across the whole of the south west of England, with partners specialising in retail and leisure, development planning, architectural design and building consultancy.