Solar farm go-ahead at Poulshot dismays campaigners

Wiltshire Times: Jack Churchill, spokesman for campaign group Wiltshire Protect Jack Churchill, spokesman for campaign group Wiltshire Protect

Campaigners are dismayed that the go-ahead has been given for a large solar farm at Poulshot.

The 80-acre solar farm will be built on four arable fields at Poulshot Lodge Farm, leased from farmer Tim Hues for a period of 25 years, whose family has farmed animals there for 47 years and will continue to do so.

The ground mounted panels will be arranged in long rows and will generate about 15 megawatts of electricity a year, enough to power about 4,600 homes. The energy will be fed directly into the National Grid.

Jack Churchill, spokesman for campaign group Wiltshire Protect, said: “It’s very disappointing that this solar park application has been given approval.

"That land is very undulating and there has been a huge amount of concern locally about the development.

"So many councils have strategies for solar farms but Wiltshire Council doesn’t. It needs to otherwise this area is going to change dramatically into an industrial park.”

Mr Churchill said there was a total of 625 acres of land within a five-mile radius of Seend either approved or where permission was sought for solar farms.

Wiltshire Council received 57 letters of objection and two petitions, one with 45 names and the other with 300, to the Poulshot scheme and there were 70 letters of support.

Those against the solar farm said the panels would look unsightly and, combined with other solar park applications, would swamp the area within five miles of Seend.

Supporters of the scheme say solar was the best option for energy generation and would help Mr Hues to diversify his business.

No objections were received from Poulshot or Seend parish councils.

The applicant, Hive Energy, revised the scheme following concerns raised by Wiltshire Council’s landscape and design officer that the solar panels would be highly visible, but planning officers concede that the panels will still be prominent from footpaths leading to and from Seend and from farmsteads on the opposite side of the valley.

However, they believe this impact must be balanced by the benefits of a renewable energy scheme and granted permission under delegated powers yesterday.

In his report, planning officer Morgan Jones says: “The proposed development would make a significant contribution towards Wiltshire’s renewable energy target (it would increase energy generation in Wiltshire by over ten per cent) and as such, on balance, it is considered that the overall environmental benefits associated with the proposal outweigh any adverse impacts.”

 

Comments (4)

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4:31pm Mon 3 Mar 14

chippenhamgedd says...

Oh no, unsightly solar panels giving us free energy for 25 years. Am sure the sheep won't mind and the land can be famed upon again at a later date. Crazy nonsense if you ask me.
Oh no, unsightly solar panels giving us free energy for 25 years. Am sure the sheep won't mind and the land can be famed upon again at a later date. Crazy nonsense if you ask me. chippenhamgedd
  • Score: -3

7:26pm Mon 3 Mar 14

WiltshireGlory says...

Your right- unsightly for a whole generation. Free energy, urghhhh...... nice try. Solar is one of the most expensive ways of generating electricity and yes I have spotted the rather large amount that gets taken off mine and everyone else's electricity bill every month! Hardly free!
Your right- unsightly for a whole generation. Free energy, urghhhh...... nice try. Solar is one of the most expensive ways of generating electricity and yes I have spotted the rather large amount that gets taken off mine and everyone else's electricity bill every month! Hardly free! WiltshireGlory
  • Score: -4

11:59pm Wed 5 Mar 14

well oill beef hooked says...

Bunch of nimby people. Every one want better ways to generate energy but as long as its not in my back yard your all happy. The panals are better than the huge wind turbines so count yourself lucky. At least if there is panels you know the area will never be built on.
Bunch of nimby people. Every one want better ways to generate energy but as long as its not in my back yard your all happy. The panals are better than the huge wind turbines so count yourself lucky. At least if there is panels you know the area will never be built on. well oill beef hooked
  • Score: 7

7:20am Sat 8 Mar 14

daryl1957 says...

Having worked on two of these sites as a night security guard, the health and safety and workers welfare should be of more concern! Unmarked 5' deep trenches full of water, rat infestation due to untidy site policies, untrained machinery operators, poor site lighting, main access tracks in very poor condition etc etc. Both sites were regularly visited by 'health & safety' inspectors, who were more than happy to tick boxes to get their fee!.
Having worked on two of these sites as a night security guard, the health and safety and workers welfare should be of more concern! Unmarked 5' deep trenches full of water, rat infestation due to untidy site policies, untrained machinery operators, poor site lighting, main access tracks in very poor condition etc etc. Both sites were regularly visited by 'health & safety' inspectors, who were more than happy to tick boxes to get their fee!. daryl1957
  • Score: -3

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