340 ground solar panels at Preston Farm

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PRESTON Farm will soon be sporting a new crop on grassland at the eastern end of Preston village - 340 ground mounted solar panels.

Earlier this week planning permission was granted for the solar panels to be installed to serve the farm, despite five letters of objection being received by Scottish Borders Council.

Those against the scheme, including Berwickshire Civic Society, argued that nearby residents would be adversely affected by the noise and visual impact of the panels; there was a potential health impact; the panels would impact on its surroundings; and there were alternative sites that the landowner could consider within the farm that would have less impact on the village. The original application included more panels at the farm, south of Jedlea, but these were removed following the objections made by others.

Considering the application, planners pointed out that Preston is not a conservation village, the development would not harm any sensitive or heritage settings and because the farm is in the middle of the village nearby occupants already have to deal with noise, odour and dust associated with living near a farm.

Councillors at Scottish Borders Council’s planning meeting on Monday were told by planning officers: “The proposals relate fairly well to the current operations of the farm and have been adjusted significantly to take account of resident concerns.

“The visual impact of the development would be acceptable in this locality with some screening and buildings adjacent.

“In the circumstances, taking into consideration the changes made to the scheme and the additional information provided, it is considered that the proposals may be supported.

“The issues raised in representation to the scheme are not so significant as to outweigh its general acceptability and compatibility with the site and surrounding site.

Councillors at Monday’s planning meeting accepted officers’ recommendations to approve the application for the 340 ground mounted solar panels subject to a number of conditions including: that no part of the development should be higher than 1.65m from ground level; and that once they are no longer used that they be dismantled within 12 months.