An East Lancashire hotel and leisure complex is to build a solar farm in its grounds to generate its own electricity.

The Crow Wood Hotel and Spa Resort in Crow Wood Holme Road, Stoneyholme, Burnley, has been granted planning permission for 1,978 panels, transformer housing, CCTV and boundary fencing.

Approval was given by this month's meeting of Burnley Council's development control committee, despite an attempt by Labour councillors to reject it as inappropriate in the Green Belt.

An officer's report recommending approval said: "Crow Wood is a multi use sports, health, hotel and leisure facility which is located approximately 0.6 miles from Burnley town centre.

"The site has grown from its first development in 2,000 with the sport, leisure, and equestrian facilities followed by a 76 bed hotel in 2019 and more recently the extension to the leisure facilities in 2022.

"This application is for a ground mounted solar array located within a field to the north of the hotel.

"The site sits outside the development boundary for the borough and lies wholly within designated Green Belt.

"The site is relatively flat in nature sitting at a higher level to the River Calder which sits to the west.

"The application is driven by the significant high energy demand for the leisure and hotel and associated uses, with the applicant being keen to create on- site self sufficient, renewable energy.

"The solar panels would have the capacity to create 1.121 kilowatts which during the spring and summer months and will power the wider Crow Wood site.

"During the winter there will be some need to use the electricity from the grid.

"The proposed solar development will make a contribution to cutting greenhouse gas emissions and tackling climate change.

"The proposed scheme represents inappropriate development within the Green Belt.

"The applicant's very special circumstances case rests on the need of the development to make Crow Wood self-sufficient in terms of energy production

"It is considered the location of the array, on a low level field which is naturally screened on at least two sides, together with proposed landscaping, can be acceptable.

"The environmental benefits of the proposal and mitigation are sufficient to outweigh the harm to the Green Belt.

"Consequently, the very special circumstances necessary to justify the proposal do exist ."