THE owner of a controversial Broughton Gifford solar farm has filed for bankruptcy after racking up billions of dollars’ worth of debt.

Since it was built the solar farm in Norrington Common, owned by SunEdison, has sparked anger amongst residents citing planning breaches and has been the subject of a High Court case on its removal.

Melksham Without and Broughton Gifford parish councils could also be left short changed by the bankruptcy as they had expected nearly £40,000 in community benefit funds, but have yet to receive a penny.

Now residents and councillors alike are unsure as to what will happen after the company declared bankruptcy last month facing potential technical defaults on at least $1.4 billion in loans and credit facilities.

Parish council chairman, Mark Sullivan, said: “We had a lot of issues regarding the incorrect installation of panels as well as several other things. Really the relationship since they have been there has been quite a tumultuous one and we were seeking compensation that obviously we are now not going to get.

“They still need to make corrections but I would have said that given they are bankrupt the corrections are not going to happen for a while yet.

“It was the first of the solar farms to be built and there are a number of things in the planning application which they have not satisfied in terms of services.

“There are several issues such as fencing, animal access, noise, as well as lanes and verges being carved up.”

Broughton Gifford resident Dan Gerber has been fighting the development since before it was built and has taken the company to the High Court arguing that planning rules were breached.

Mr Gerber, whose case was thrown out on appeal, said: “I think landowners will think twice about leasing productive farmland to renewable energy companies.

“The music may stop and the lease payments end, while the industrial installation remains.

“When the case is heard by the Supreme Court, I am confident that they will uphold the decision of the High Court. Then this will be one more step towards tearing this thing down.

“SunEdison was successful in the greedy race for subsidies. However, they simply borrowed too much and went bankrupt.

“The UK taxpayer is left to pay the bills. I am in favour of renewable energy projects, if they are appropriately sited and are not a huge drain on the taxpayer.”