A public inquiry has begun today (September 12) into plans to build a solar farm measuring 88 hectares on farmland to the north and east of Great Wymondley.

Planning permission for the Priory Farm plans was granted by North Herts Council in November last year, but the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities - the Rt Hon Michael Gove MP - has called-in the planning application.

This has triggered a public inquiry, chaired by a planning inspector, who will make a recommendation to the Secretary of State, who will make the final decision.


The Secretary of State says he wants to determine the extent to which the proposed development is consistent with government policies for Green Belt, for meeting the challenge of climate change flooding, and for conserving and enhancing the natural environment.

He says he also wants to determine that the proposed development is consistent with the development plan for the area.

North Herts Council's case includes that the North Hertfordshire Local Plan 2011-2031 supports proposals for renewable and low carbon energy development in appropriate locations.

The local authority has also pointed to the National Grid predicting an increase in electricity demand, adding that the Climate Change Act 2008 sets a legally binding target in the UK to reduce all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.


Meanwhile, The Objectors' Group, which consists of Great Wymondley Village Association and Wymondley Parish Council, said: "The reasons we strongly oppose this application is its colossal scale of 88 hectares - some 108 football pitches - close to homes and important heritage assets.

"The proposals also decimate important archaeological-rich agricultural land.

"In addition, the proposal sits in a vital area of Green Belt, providing open countryside."

The public inquiry, being held at the council offices in Letchworth, is expected to conclude on Friday, September 22.

The inquiry will be live streamed on YouTube at youtube.com/@North-hertsGovUk.

If you wish to participate in the inquiry virtually, via Zoom, you can contact North Herts Council via planning.appeals@north-herts.gov.uk or call 01462 474608 for details of how to do so.