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April 2024: Application REFUSED!

Following the latest round of objections in October 2023, Ashford Borough Council finally decided to REFUSE the application for the solar installation at North Court Farm.

Further details can be found via the planning application on the Ashford Planning Portal: PA/2022/2415

Continue to support our petition!

Like others, Ashford Borough Council (ABC) has a petition scheme. If a petition obtains 750+ signatures, this will require a senior council official to appear at any overview and scrutiny committee and give evidence on an issue for which he or she is responsible. 1500+ signatures will require debate at a full council meeting.

So, as part of our response to the application, we have created a petition. and would encourage everybody to sign this to support the work we are doing, raise visibility and help ensure this matter is dealt with properly. As of April 2024, we are up to 908 signatures and this adds further weight to our objections but this remains important with the potential for appeal still out there for the next 6 months.


October 2023 Objections

In early October 2023, we received communication from Ashford Borough Council (ABC) concerning the revised application PA/2022/2415 for the industrial solar installation at North Court Fruit Farm in Old Wives Lees.

Whilst the applicant has made minor changes to the original application, we don't believe that they make the overall plan compliant with national and local planning policies.


If you sent an objection to the original application we would ask that you:

  1. Upload or write your comments to ABC reiterating your initial objection

  2. Say in your own words that you object, including one or more of the points as appropriate to your viewpoint on the proposal:

    • Best and Most Versatile Agricultural land should not be used for industrial purposes,

    • Harm to the landscape and visual amenity and surrounding AONB plus North Downs Way,

    • The project's lifetime - 40 years is nearly 2 generations,

    • Disruption - the proposed grid connection will be along Lower Lees Road and down Long Hill to the New Cut (which is the route of the North Downs Way)

    • Amount of transport movements during construction - danger to pedestrians and road users,

    • Lack of community involvement.

  3. Confirm that you agree with the objections submitted by SOWLIS:

Any representations must be received by 5th November 2023 and be made in writing either by:

  1. Letter to the Strategic Development and Delivery Manager, Planning and Development Service, Ashford Borough Council, Civic Centre, Tannery Lane, Ashford, Kent TN23 1PL

  2. Email to:

  3. Completing the comments form on the planning application page


We have commissioned a review of the Landscape and Visual Impact documents again and therefore please help us by donating via PayPal or by contacting us directly and paying through our Barclays Community account (which does not incur any fees!).

December 2022 SOWLIS objection

SOWLIS objections made!

SOWLIS prepared and submitted a comprehensive response to the original planning application to Ashford Borough Council in December 2022. This was formed of a number of key components:

What happens to our objections?

The date for objections has now passed. The planning application for the North Court Solar Installation along with all objections and correspondence received can be viewed on Ashford Borough Council's website: PA/2022/2415.

Objections will be considered as part of the planning decision process, the result of which we are still waiting for.


Some background...

Following an initial review by SOWLIS, a number of issues were identified:

  • No details of the objection deadline - despite residents receiving letters indicating that this is 3rd December 2022

  • No details of who the planning officer is

  • Multiple errors that include duplication, missing documents and incorrectly named titles

These problems made it incredibly difficult for anyone to understand, review the documents and comment on the application. More importantly, the ability to make an informed comment by statutory consultees and ourselves in the parish is challenged!

SOWLIS wrote to ABC's planning department asking for them to correct these errors and to delay the objection date in this letter.   


ABC has now restarted the Consultation process and the application has been corrected on ABC's portal along with a new date for submitting objections! 

Community Meetings

SOWLIS held two successful meetings on 18th & 20th November in the Village Hall in Old Wives Lees giving information on latest developments in the planning application and how to frame objections. The presentation from those meetings can be found here, along with the notes that accompanied it in a a handy guide.

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