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Solar park plan rejected by town council
Highworth Town Council has recommended refusal of plans to build a solar park on Pentylands Farm.
Hive Energy Ltd wants to instal solar panels capable of generating up to 15mw of electricity, with transformer housings, 2.4m-high security fencing with cameras, landscaping and other associated works on the farm, off Pentylands Lane.
The application site covers an area of 35.9 hectares, but the town council says it would be out of character if it were to be given the go-ahead.
A spokesman for Highworth Town Council said: “Councillors recommended refusal 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.
“They were of the opinion that it would be out of character and incongruous in the landscape.
“There was great concern over the impact of the vehicles bringing materials to the site both through the town and on Pentylands Lane.
“It was suggested that a change of use on the land might be necessary for the scheme to go ahead.”
In a design and access statement submitted to Swindon Council, a spokes-man for Pegasus Planning Group said: “The introduction of the necessary supporting framework and panels will still enable grass and also wild flowers to be grown on the site.
“There is the potential to allow sheep to graze across the site. In addition, the minimal physical intrusion of the development itself will mean that the panels are to be removed after their 25-year lifetime; the land will revert swiftly to agricultural use, if this was considered appropriate.
“In order to meet challenging renewable energy targets then such electricity generating schemes will continue to need to be introduced, which will generally need to be located outside of urban areas and within the countryside where the capacity to support such developments exists.”
Alan Gorton, of Hannington Parish Council, said that while they did not object in principle, concerns had been raised.
A decision on the application is due to be made in November. To view the application in full, visit swindon.gov.uk.
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