Solar Park, creative commons pic by OhWeh

Plans to build a massive solar park on farmland near Nantwich will go before councillors this week.

Markus Wierenga, of Green Switch Developments Ltd, has applied to build the solar park on land at Hatherton Lodge Farm, on Hunsterson Road, Hatherton.

The park, which would cover 16 hectares of land, would include more than 28,000 solar panels creating an output of more than 8MW.

Developers say there would also be a substation on site, which would be surrounded by security fencing to prevent trespass and vandals.

The park would be in operation for 25 years, according to reports.

Planning officers have recommended the park gets the go ahead, but many have objected.

Hatherton and Walgherton Parish Council says the proposal should be refused on several grounds.

These include impact on the landscape, omissions in the information submitted, flood risk, glint and glare, traffic disruption and impact on wildlife.

More than 30 letters from neighbours of the site have also been written expressing concern based on similar points.

Others are worried about heavy construction traffic, insecurity of the site, property devaluation and potential to interfere with mobile and internet coverage.

But in a report to go before Strategic Planning Board, planners said: “The proposal would satisfy the economic and social sustainability roles by providing energy from a renewable, low carbon source.

“The proposal is considered to have an impact on the landscape of the area but not sufficiently harmful in the overall balance.

“It is acceptable in terms, amenity, flood risk, highway safety and ecology.

“The scheme therefore represents a sustainable form of development and the planning balance weighs in favour supporting the development.”

The plan is to be decided at Cheshire East’s Strategic Planning Board this Wednesday February 18.

(pic of Solar Park for illustration purposes only)

4 Comments

  1. John says:

    The UK demand for electricity is about 35GW, of which, about a third comes from coal, a quarter from nuclear and less than 10% from wind. (for details, see http://www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk/) It’s clear coal won’t last for ever, and given the timescales involved, we need to do something soon. Wind-power simply isn’t going to do it, and whilst eco-friendly energy makes a contribution, it isn’t yet the whole solution. It seems to me we have to address some key issues: a) Nuclear power can (and should) provide energy cheaply and easily, but controls need to be rigid (as I believe they are in the UK). b) Solar farms can provide concentrated areas for the generation of “free” electricity. Is their impact being overstated? c) We talk about the environment, but would you put solar panels on a thatched cottage in the Cotswolds? No, because they’re ugly, but they are springing up all over the suburbs, and for me, they look far worse than a field full of panels. It would be good if they could be invisibly incorporated into roofing materials. d) Fracking can provide really huge amounts of energy, and whilst the protesters are very noisy, they shouldn’t be allowed the only say. e) Finally, as well as ecology, energy is ultimately about consumers, and the government continues to allow the energy companies to treat us like idiots with massive prices, hugely confusing tariffs and grossly incompetent customer service. Energy is a very difficult topic which needs some careful thought and one that will affect us for generations to come, but I’m afraid I have zero confidence that our politicians are even remotely capable of this task.

  2. George Thomas says:

    Ideal spot for one would be Hack Green site.

  3. Lee says:

    I hope this plan doesn’t get derailed by selfish nimbys who seem unable to grasp the fact that the view is of secondary importance to our energy security and indeed the continued support of life on this planet.
    Windmills? Stick ’em everywhere it’s possible. We’ll get used to it, just like pylons, TV aerials and satellite dishes. One day we’ll have tidy fusion reactors and limitless energy, but in the meantime the “spoiling” of views from the odd kitchen window is an irrelevance.

  4. AP says:

    There seem to be loads of applications for these “solar farms” all of a sudden. There’s an application for one just outside Wrenbury and they seem to be already building one on the road between Nantwich and Whitchurch. I wonder why? Is there some new government subsidy for these things?

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