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Successful appeal for Hampshire battery storage facility

Alder King Planning Consultants have won a planning appeal against Hart District Council for a 5 MW battery energy storage facility after an inspector ruled that its contribution to the stability of electricity supply outweighed local countryside development plan policy. 

The planning application for the erection of battery storage containers and support infrastructure on a greenfield site near Hook in Hampshire was recommended for approval by Officers but was refused by the Committee in October 2016 on the grounds that it would be “inappropriate development within the countryside”. 

In his review, the Inspector considered whether the location of the development conflicted with the Council’s Development Plan and the National Planning Policy Framework, and whether any conflict was outweighed by material considerations and the effect of the proposed development on the immediate and wider landscape.

The Inspector concluded that while the location of the proposed development would conflict with Local Plan Policy, it was substantially outweighed by its contribution to maintaining stable electricity supplies during fluctuations resulting from renewable energy generation.  He also acknowledged that maintaining a stable electricity supply in this way was central to the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development, for which the Framework has a presumption in favour.  In his view, the benefits significantly outweighed any perceived harm.

Mark Cullen, senior planner at Alder King, said: “The ability to deploy our extensive experience in securing what we believe is the first appeal decision for battery storage is a very positive step forward and sets a clear precedent for the future of this innovative and clean technology.”

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