THE FUTURE is bright for a solar farm at Warmwell after it received planning permission from councillors.

West Dorset District Council ’s development control committee approved an application from Lightsource Renewable Energy for a solar farm on land adjacent to Beech Farm.

The 4.4 hectare site, which is currently used for grazing, will provide enough power for around 460 homes.

The applicants have welcomed the planning approval but local residents have hit out at the decision.

Lightsource Renewable Energy’s chief executive officer Nick Boyle said: “Lightsource is proud to announce the solar plant in Warmwell near Dorchester as the latest addition to our portfolio.

“It has been made very clear in recent times that solar is a key component in the UK’s drive towards its renewable energy targets “Renewable energy sources and schemes such as that at Warmwell need to become an integral part of our domestic power output if we are to achieve the Government’s target of 30 per cent of the UK’s electricity being generated from renewable sources by 2020.

“With the current figure in the region of 5.5 per cent, we have a long way to go in terms of the generation of green energy.”

The name Warmwell may sound like the ideal place for a solar farm but it the move has not gone down well with villagers.

Paul Ross-Skinner said he was concerned that the councillors who determined the application had not actually carried out a site visit prior to making their decision.

He said: “The opinion that the landscape and visual impact is outweighed by the renewable energy benefits is very much an opinion that people individually make.

“My opinion is the committee was not able to make that decision without actually visiting the site.

“Considering the visual impact I was quite disappointed that it was approved without that.”

Last year the council approved another, much larger, application for a solar farm at Crossways that will produce enough power for 1,200 homes at a disused quarry off Redbridge Road.

Mr Ross-Skinner said: “The fact is that particular location is entirely rural and it doesn’t seem to me to appropriate.

“It doesn’t make sense when you’ve got an installation at Crossways that is many times the size to seriously scar that piece of countryside for a much smaller installation.”