- Posted by: Valerie Vaz MP
- Category: News
I am delighted to let you know that Anesco Ltd has withdrawn its appeal and the public enquiry set for 4 days at the end of August 2023 has been cancelled.
You will remember our campaign to stop the construction of the Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) on Chapel Lane on the Green Belt. Anesco Ltd applied to build up to 28, 2.3m high battery units in open countryside starting in 2021. I called a meeting with Beacon Action Group attended by over 50 local residents on 26 November 2021 at the Great Barr Memorial Hall to talk through the proposals . The meeting overwhelmingly agreed to oppose the application. I wrote to the Chief Executive of Anesco to state the opposition to the proposals, that it was on Green Belt land, the Battery Storage facilities were not safe and Anesco had not considered alternative sites (see ‘Battery Energy Storage System (BESS)’ on 17/12/2021). There was also an issue with two applications with two different dates. After the extended consultation, Anesco Ltd submitted an ‘Alternative Site Assessment’ but no other feasible site was put forward.
On 8 June 2022, I spoke about the proposal in the Westminster Hall debate ‘Solar Farms and Battery Storage‘, voicing my constituents’ concerns that Councils have the ability to approve an unwanted application by bringing it to the Cabinet or Planning Committee without taking into account residents’ views . In August 2022 I again wrote to Walsall Council objecting to the planning application, and on 1 December 2022 the planning application for the battery storage site on Chapel Lane was refused. The Planning Committee acknowledged receipt of over 300 comments objecting to the proposals, including my letters and objections from local groups and residents.
Anesco Ltd filed an appeal against this decision, which would have been heard by an Inspector in August with local residents ready to give evidence but they have now withdrawn their appeal and the public enquiry has been cancelled.
There was much hard work and research that went into this campaign from the community residents and Action Groups. It now means Grade II agricultural land on Chapel Lane, on our Green Belt, is safe and the residents who live nearby do not have to worry about an eyesore or fires and the nearby St Margaret’s Church Great Barr a heritage asset is protected. This is a victory for local people.
You can find more information about the Campaign on my website by checking these previous posts: Chapel Lane Residents meeting 26 November 2021; Westminster Hall Debate on Battery Storage 8 June 2022; Response objecting to Battery Storage Facility 18 August 2022 and Application for Battery Storage Facility Rejection 9 December 2022.