Withiel Parish Council Minutes of the Meeting held on 23 Jan 2013

One amendment to the draft in green.

Withiel Parish Council
Minutes of the Extra-ordinary meeting held in the Village Hall at 7.15pm on
Wednesday, 23rd January 2013


Present: Cllr J Piper, Cllr N Mather, Cllr M Biddick, Cllr D Hore, Cllr E Harper, Cllr W I Martyn, Cllr D Hancock. Parish Clerk: Mrs C Wilson.
Also Present: Cornwall Cllr John Wood; Mr Frank Bohne, Director of Kronos Solar Projects GmbH, and a colleague; Diana Pride, Chairman of Retire Commoners Association; and 10+ members of the public.

The meeting began at 7.26 when the Chairman welcomed all and invited members of the public to address the meeting.

The open session of the Council meeting lasted about 75 minutes in Question & Answer format. Mr Bohne from Kronos answered questions from Councillors and the public. CC Wood clarified certain points about planning procedure and Solar Parks are a special interest.

• The original public consultation by Kronos in September last year was not well attended. Only Councillors attended.
• The Planning Application says ‘North of Kerriers’ when there are 3 fields South as well.
• Residents of Roche Parish at Colbiggan should have been consulted because they can see it.
• If the plan goes ahead the types and size of screening plants will be of particular interest to the nearby residents in Withiel & Roche parishes.
Mr Bohne:
• Kronos’ oldest Solar Park is in Germany and about 5 (?) years old.
• The three fields South of Kerriers were added to the proposal (after the public consultation) to make it economically viable;
• i.e., to cover the cost of the 5 km underground cable to a grid substation to the east.
• Western Power has the right to lay the cable over the land, but Kronos always consults landowners.
• The total grid capacity of Cornwall is reaching its limit so that there will not be many more Solar Parks.
• Construction could take as little time as 3 months or as much as 9-12 months, if problems arise.
• Earliest commencement date for power to the grid would be in March 2014.
• Kronos is using British construction companies more and more in Britain.
• After construction it will be a very quiet site.
• Fencing will allow small animals to enter, not deer.
• Grazing of sheep is considered the most cost effective for the land under Solar Panels; a wildflower mix could be planted, etc.
• The treatment of the land will not include herbicides.
• Kronos works with the County Council and the local Council to determine a land management scheme in writing as part of the lease.
• The contract for land management follows a detailed plan and is usually the landowner, or sourced locally or regionally.
• Part of the detailed plan is the landscaping. The plan determines the size of the ‘screening’ trees/bushes.
• Kerriers Solar Park would be it’s own Limited Company (like every Solar Park designed by Kronos) which can be sold to a final investor, such as a Pension Scheme.
• The lease is for 25 years.
• The photovoltaic cells are guaranteed to be at least 80% efficient after 25 years.
• Decommissioning of the Solar Park. The lease specifies that a ‘decommissioning bond’ is set up, independent of whether Kronos (or subsequent owners of the Limited Company) goes ‘bust’.
CC Wood:
• Kronos is one of the most conscientious companies putting in Solar Parks into Cornwall.
• The reality is that Cornwall must put in a certain amount of acreage of Solar energy.
• Geothermal energy is not as unsightly, but it is not part of the National Strategy.
• Visual impact will not be considered a proper objection to Solar Parks.
• This proposed Park is on Grade 3 agricultural land.
D Pride:
• Retire Common is slowly building up as and excellent SSSI site.
• Construction of Solar Park could affect the cuckoo nesting site on the common and it is hoped that construction will not be during nesting season (generally 1st March – 31st July).
• The Commoners’ objection to the ‘improved access road’ over the Common has been addressed. Mr Bohne assured the Commoners that access for the Solar Park would be exclusively to the North, not over the Common.

Chairman Piper thanked CC Wood and Mr Bohne for their participation.
CC Wood, Mr Bohne and his colleague excused themselves.

1. Members’ declarations of interest. None.

2. Apologies for absence. None.

3. Minutes of 2nd January 2013 with adjournment to 9th January were signed as true and correct by the Chairman. Proposed Cllr Martyn; 2nd Cllr Biddick.

a. The Clerk asked members of the public if there was any objection to their names being mentioned in the minutes during the Open Session at the beginning of the meeting. No one objected. The Clerk will take proper care and attention not to mention people by name if they do not wish it.
b. The Clerk informed the Councillors that she has been instructed by CALC, as ‘best practice’, to send Agendas and Draft Minutes by email only to Councillors and representatives of related institutions (e.g., Cornwall Councillors and Officers).
c. As before, the Agenda & Draft Minutes will be posted on the notice board and on the Withiel website for members of the public. The Clerk is happy to respond to individual requests.

4. Matters Arising.

a. The Clerk distributed Email Request Forms to be returned by the end of the meeting.
b. It was urgently resolved, in order to make the deadline for publication, that the Clerk would send an article to the Withiel News & Views regarding the 4 Jan Cornish Guardian article. Proposed Cllr Hancock. Seconded Cllr Hore. Passed unanimously.

Incorrect headline in the 4 January Cornish Guardian.
Though the headline read ‘bounced cheque’, the payment made to the contractor for the improvement/construction of 7 stiles was returned by the bank because of a signature that differed from the signature on file. In the body of the Guardian article, it explained that the contractor’s cheque was refused “because of problems with a signature.” At all times there were sufficient funds in the account to cover this cheque.

c. Information about the Budget 2013/14 Consultation requested by Cllrs Piper and Mather.
d. Information about ‘Shaping our future together’ meeting of the Adult Care and Support 11 February requested by Cllr Hancock.
e. Information about the ‘Community Resilience and Working Together Event’ on 13 February requested by Cllr Hancock.
f. Agenda of the Bodmin Community Network Meeting for 28th January requested by Cllr Mather.

5. Planning.

a. PA12/10939 to be reassessed in light of new information provided by Kronos Solar Projects. Land North Of Kerriers Withiel Bodmin Cornwall; Provision of photovoltaic solar park and ancillary infrastructure. Applicant Name: KS SPV22 Ltd. The Council did not vote. This explanation was placed on the planning website and sent to Mark Evans, the Case Officer:

*** Deferred vote, 23 January 2013. After Withiel Council objected to this planning application (12 Dec 2012), Kronos wished to bring further information and attend our Council meeting. After consultation with the Case Officer, Withiel Council convened an Extra-ordinary Meeting to reconsider this application, 23 Jan 2013. Frank Bohne, Director of Kronos, attended our meeting, as did Cornwall Cllr John Wood. It was noted that the planning states ‘North of Kerriers’; however, the planning now includes 3 fields south of Kerriers. We had an hour+ Q & A session with Mr Bohne. Objections were raised by members of the public from Colbiggan (Roche Parish), the Retire Commoner’s Assoc., and a local business. Only the Commoner’s Assoc. was satisfied that their objections had been addressed about access to the Solar Park. CC Wood recommended that Kronos organise another public consultation to which Kronos agreed. We await another public consultation which can address local concerns.

b. Letter of objection to the above planning was read from John and Sarah Richards, Kerriers, Inchs, Withiel PL30 5LR.
c. Report of previous planning application. Ref. No: PA12/04317. Construction of sand school – Land Adjacent To Buzzards Reach Withiel PL30 5NL. Date of application: 4 May 2012. Status: Withdrawn

6. Business for the next meeting.

a. Motorcycle noise
b. L . Hancock’s field drainage.
c. Layby next to Varcoe’s field, drainage & potholes
d. 4 Jan article in Cornish Guardian [closed session].

7. Date of Next Meeting: Wednesday 6th February 2013, 7.15 pm.

The meeting closed at 9.00 pm with the Chairman thanking those who attended.

Christine Wilson – Parish Clerk
31 January 2013