PLANS for a large solar farm to the north of Cambridge and next to the busy A38 have seen a largely positive response.
Cambridge Solar Power sought the public’s views on the proposed 97-acre development on land at Hillhouse Farm at an exhibition on Monday, July 21, with over 100 people attending.
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 site would potentially generate up to 30MW of electricity, enough for around 7,000 homes, with company estimating that up to 322,500 tonnes of CO2 emissions could be saved over the 25-year lifetime of the project.
The partnership believes existing mature hedgerows and tree belts would be able to provide extensive screening from the surrounding land and transport routes, with the panels expected to be no higher than 2.6m.
As part of the development, a community benefit fund would be set up which would be managed by parish councils in the area and could potentially receive £30,000 a year depending on electricity output.
Martin Dibley, a cleaner from Kingston Road in Slimbridge has lived in the area for 30 years and told the Gazette he had no strong objections to the plans.
“It is probably a good idea,” he said.
“I have asked that some of the money from the community fund goes towards repairing the towers on St John’s Church in Slimbridge. If it benefits that and stopped it falling down that would be a good idea.”
Marianne Fisher a retired secretary from Lower Cam said she found the exhibition very informative.
“I am quite in agreement with the plans,” she said.
“I think it is a good idea because they think £30,000 could be made available each year. It could be put to good use in the area.
“As far as we are concerned, we are for any power-related services, we are not looking forward to power cuts.”
One objector is Graeme Hawkins, 66, who has lived on Ryalls Lane in Cambridge for 35 years.
He called the proposals to use the green field site a “great shame”, particularly as several other solar farms were being planned for the area.
“I appreciate the problem that famers can’t make money from their land but if the government did not give these subsidies they wouldn’t be building this,” said the retired antiques dealer.
“We will be covered in solar farms. I wouldn’t want to see it built here. I still think you will be able to see it from a long way away.”
John Hughes, director of Cambridge Solar Power, said he was very pleased with the attendance and encouraged by the level of support for the project.
"Feedback was positive and we are currently reviewing the comments made via our questionnaires ahead of finalising the planning application, which we hope to submit to the council shortly," he said.
The public consultation closes on Saturday July 27.