Council accepts solar park plan at Pentylands Farm, Highworth

Swindon Advertiser: Chris Birdsall with Norman Edwards, the chairman of Pentylands Preservation Group who opposed a housing development at Pentylands in Highworth; Mr Birdsall says the solar farm is a good idea Chris Birdsall with Norman Edwards, the chairman of Pentylands Preservation Group who opposed a housing development at Pentylands in Highworth; Mr Birdsall says the solar farm is a good idea

A SOLAR park is a step closer to being built on farmland near Highworth after plans were accepted by Swindon Council.

Hive Energy Ltd wants to install solar panels capable of generating up to 15mega-watts of electricity, with transformer housings, 2.4metre-high security fencing with cameras, landscaping and other associated works on Pentylands Farm, off Pentylands Lane.

The application site covers an area of about 35.9hectares.

The applicant has said that the plans are in the early stages and it is not possible to confirm the precise photovoltaic panel technology to be used, nor the exact number of panels.

The plans say that the panels would be removed after their 25-year lifetime and the land would revert back to agricultural use.

However, the introduction of the necessary supporting framework and panels themselves would still enable grass and wild flowers to be grown on site.

The plans were recommended for refusal by the town council due to the huge size of the development, which will be overbearingly visible from various parts of Highworth, particularly in the popular view from the Cricklade Cemetery.

Applicant John Livall, who has been farming cattle on the site for 63 years, said: “We are delighted with the decision.

“After 63 years of dairy farming we wanted a change, there was no future in dairy farming for us.”

Councillor Dale Heenan, cabinet member for planning and sustainability, said: “The application has been granted and the council is more than happy to support change of use applications when one of the options is solar energy.

“It coincides with council’s sustainability policy.

“A lot of the feedback we received was actually in favour of the solar farm.”

Residents have also welcomed the planned development and have said that more needs to be done to promote green energy.

Chris Birdsall, of St Michael’s Avenue, opposed the building of 50 homes on land behind his home but has said that the solar farm was a good idea.

He said: “Because it is at the farm it is quite a way away from any homes.

“I don’t know how many people will be able to see it, it is tucked away.

“We do need renewable energy – it has been reported that coal plants are going to be closing, so we need something to replace that energy and a solar farm sounds like a good idea.”

Comments (9)

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9:16am Sat 15 Dec 12

dc the 2nd says...

Serious arm crossing there
Serious arm crossing there dc the 2nd

11:05am Sat 15 Dec 12

Hmmmf says...

Subsidy farming, the new cash crop.
Subsidy farming, the new cash crop. Hmmmf

1:59pm Sat 15 Dec 12

1234hl83 says...

As this is one of the biggest things ever to happen to Swindon in terms of renewable energy and it being the second biggest solar farm in the UK to have been granted planning permission to date i think this is fantastic news for Swindon. However, the section where it refers to Highworth Town Council refusing it because it is overbearingly visible is completely untrue. This is because Highworth Town Council identified the wrong fields in the first place by not consulting the plans properly and having seen the montage myself - it is almost completely hidden from view all round Highworth.
As this is one of the biggest things ever to happen to Swindon in terms of renewable energy and it being the second biggest solar farm in the UK to have been granted planning permission to date i think this is fantastic news for Swindon. However, the section where it refers to Highworth Town Council refusing it because it is overbearingly visible is completely untrue. This is because Highworth Town Council identified the wrong fields in the first place by not consulting the plans properly and having seen the montage myself - it is almost completely hidden from view all round Highworth. 1234hl83

6:06pm Sat 15 Dec 12

Always Grumpy says...

Don't we need the land to produce food to feed the immigrants?
Don't we need the land to produce food to feed the immigrants? Always Grumpy

12:10am Sun 16 Dec 12

twasadawf says...

Will produce enough power to light up 6 christmas trees when you consider how much sun light we get, just like the wind farms that don't spin in the winter months because of a low depression ,freezing and not a whisper of wind some days
Will produce enough power to light up 6 christmas trees when you consider how much sun light we get, just like the wind farms that don't spin in the winter months because of a low depression ,freezing and not a whisper of wind some days twasadawf

11:09am Sun 16 Dec 12

Hmmmf says...

1234hl83 wrote:
As this is one of the biggest things ever to happen to Swindon in terms of renewable energy and it being the second biggest solar farm in the UK to have been granted planning permission to date i think this is fantastic news for Swindon.

How is it 'fantastic' and 'big' for Swindon? The people of Swindon, and the rest of England, will be paying through the nose on their energy bills for the next 25 years. There's no benefit to Swindon at all. A lazy farmer who can't be bothered with dairy farming any more will be stuffing his pockets with subsidy cash, as will Hive Energy Ltd, and that cash is coming from Swindon's pockets.
[quote][p][bold]1234hl83[/bold] wrote: As this is one of the biggest things ever to happen to Swindon in terms of renewable energy and it being the second biggest solar farm in the UK to have been granted planning permission to date i think this is fantastic news for Swindon. [/quote] How is it 'fantastic' and 'big' for Swindon? The people of Swindon, and the rest of England, will be paying through the nose on their energy bills for the next 25 years. There's no benefit to Swindon at all. A lazy farmer who can't be bothered with dairy farming any more will be stuffing his pockets with subsidy cash, as will Hive Energy Ltd, and that cash is coming from Swindon's pockets. Hmmmf

3:10pm Sun 16 Dec 12

house on the hill says...

At least Highworth have wifi in a few areas!

Typical narrow minded local councillors and if they did look at the wrong field I wouldnt be surprsied. Most councillors are failed or bent business people anyway!!!!
At least Highworth have wifi in a few areas! Typical narrow minded local councillors and if they did look at the wrong field I wouldnt be surprsied. Most councillors are failed or bent business people anyway!!!! house on the hill

8:22am Mon 17 Dec 12

PaulD says...

twasadawf wrote:
Will produce enough power to light up 6 christmas trees when you consider how much sun light we get, just like the wind farms that don't spin in the winter months because of a low depression ,freezing and not a whisper of wind some days
we get plenty of light. Modern solar panels don't require direct sunlight and in fact are more efficient when it is slightly overcast
[quote][p][bold]twasadawf[/bold] wrote: Will produce enough power to light up 6 christmas trees when you consider how much sun light we get, just like the wind farms that don't spin in the winter months because of a low depression ,freezing and not a whisper of wind some days[/p][/quote]we get plenty of light. Modern solar panels don't require direct sunlight and in fact are more efficient when it is slightly overcast PaulD

1:35pm Mon 17 Dec 12

twasadawf says...

Maybe they could use the land for a fracking farm then we could all get local cheap gas
Maybe they could use the land for a fracking farm then we could all get local cheap gas twasadawf

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