Plans unveiled for 97.5 acre solar farm on A38

Gazette Series: SR_217_001     One of the fields to be used in the proposed Solar Farm at Cambridge (8281794) SR_217_001 One of the fields to be used in the proposed Solar Farm at Cambridge (8281794)

PLANS are being unveiled for a huge solar farm at Cambridge alongside the A38.

Cambridge Solar Power is seeking the public’s views on the proposed 97-acre development on land at Hillhouse Farm to the north of the village.

The site would potentially generate up to 30MW of electricity, enough for around 7,000 homes.

The company estimates that up to 322,500 tonnes of CO2 emissions over the 25-year lifetime of the project could be saved, compared to gas-fired power generation, and approximately twice that amount compared to coal-fired generation.

A public exhibition is being held on Monday, July 21 at Slimbridge Village Hall on St John’s Road between 3pm and 7pm, with the public consultation period running until July 27.

Cambridge Solar Power is a partnership between firms Renewable Power, EnvironGauge and Vogt Solar and the site, if permission is granted, would take four months to build and would run for 25 years, before being dismantled.

The company believes existing mature hedgerows and belts of trees will be able to provide extensive screening from the surrounding land and transport routes.

The 97.5 acre site is of predominantly level land and the fields are currently used for raising cattle and a small amount of arable crops.

The solar panels would be angled at approximately 15 degrees and would extend to a maximum of 2.6m above ground.

The partnership would, as part of the development, look to set up a community benefit fund, which would be managed by parish councils in the area and could potentially receive £30,000 a year depending on electricity output.

Retired building consultant Tony Cope from Ryles Lane adjacent to the site said the feeling was predominantly negative from the village.

“How can this site not be seen, as claimed by the applicant?" he said.

"Have they never noticed the surrounding hills, the Cotswold Escarpment, Cam Peak, Stinchcombe Hill? Surely sun reflecting off 97 acres of glazing will be an eyesore to anyone looking down to the valley floor.

“Everyone acknowledges the need for ‘free’ power yet none of us want to see giant windmills towering over us, hundreds of buoys bobbing up and down out at sea, or huge areas of reflecting glass in nearby fields.”

However another nearby resident who will see the farm from his bungalow on the A38 is George Baker and he has no objections to the plans initially.

“I can understand why the farms are doing this, they are not making enough money these days and this is a good alternative,” he said.

“I would rather have this then a housing estate or a factory.”

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