CSA Environmental are currently acting for Leicestershire County Council, who are the landowners, in relation to a detailed planning application for a 10 megawatt solar farm and new commercial developent at Barrow Road, Quorn.
The site comprises an area of semi-improved grassland, derelict farm buildings, and a number of detracting features, such as overhead powerlines and a sewage works. The site does not carry any statutory or non-statutory designations for landscape character or quality and there are no heritage assets on, or adjacent to, the site.
CSA were commissioned to undertake a detailed Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment (LVIA) of the site and this was used to inform the layout of the proposed development. Once the detailed layout was finalised the effects of the development on landscape character and visibility were assessed in detail.
In addition to preparing the LVIA, CSA produced a landscape strategy which set out proposed mitigation measures. These include:
> Retention of all vegetation on the external and internal field boundaries of the development, save for a small section of hedgerow which needs to be removed to accommodate the access;
> Leaving outgrown hedgerows unmanaged, and manage new hedgerows to a winter height of 3m, which is characteristic of the area;
> Planting trees and new sections of hedgerows to strengthen field boundaries, which will complement the well-treed landscape character of the areas as well as providing additional biodiversity benefits; and
> Introducing a new grassland mix, with a high percentage of native wildflowers, under the solar panels, on the field margins and around the commercial buildings on the site.
The LVIA has been well received by the LPA and we anticipate the application going to committee soon.