October 28th, 2016

Potential solar farm divides Claverdon residents

Potential solar farm divides Claverdon residents Potential solar farm divides Claverdon residents
Updated: 3:06 pm, May 07, 2015

PLANS for a solar farm in Claverdon have divided villagers.

Berty 003 Limited want to build on green belt land in a low-lying area of farmland beside a sewage works on Church Road.

If given the green light, the site at Park Farm would provide renewable energy to around 1,300 homes each year.

The developers says the farm – roughly the size of 16 football pitches – would be mostly screened from view.

They also insist the proposal is fully reversible – meaning the site could be returned back to its current condition in the future.

But despite developers arguing it would be out of sight to 99 per cent of residents, some feel the 7.5MW solar farm made up of around 29,000 panels would still be a huge eyesore.

Residents have already raised concerns about the effects of building on green belt and argue the solar farm would be better located on brownfield land or the roofs of buildings.

They maintain the development could set a president for future green belt expansion, as well as creating irreparable damage to the countryside and they also fear the impact the development could have on the surrounding nature and wildlife.

The Campaign for the Protection of Rural England is also against the plans.

A spokesman said: “CPRE has no objection to solar panels… [but] as a matter of principal, we do not favour applications of solar farms in the open countryside. The present proposal is huge, and will be an eyesore.”

But not everyone is against the proposals.

David Burman, who owns the land earmarked for the solar farm, fully supports the application.

He said: “We have farmed here since the 1930s and there have been three farming generations to this date.

“Due to the increasing pressures on income from farming we have been encouraged to diversify. Renewable energy is an all important form of diversification and the additional income generated by the solar farm will help the family farming business.”

Meanwhile other residents back the proposals arguing the site is well-placed and the benefits of producing renewable energy outweigh the cost of building on green belt land.

A district council spokeswoman this week confirmed a consultation period had recently ended and public responses were currently being assessed.

The application is likely to be considered by the council’s planning committee early in the New Year.