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Fears over plan for solar farm
7:00am Monday 2nd September 2013 in News
RESIDENTS are worried a solar farm could be a blot on farmland views.
Lightsource Renewable Energy Ltd has applied for permission to install 41,500 panels on land south of Jackletts Farm, in Slough Road, Danbury.
The panels will take up about 34 per cent of the 20.78-hectare site.
Garth Curtis, of Hackmans Lane, Cock Clarks, said he will see them from his windows, adding: “Cock Clarks has views over beautiful countryside and now we’re going to get 20.78 hectares of solar farm.
“It is certainly a blight.”
Elizabeth Clements, of Slough Lane, Danbury, said: “It will spoil our enjoyment of the countryside.
“Our other major concern is traffic, particularly during construction.
“It is quite a narrow road. It is basically a single track road with passing places and already we get heavy traffic, more than there should be, using it.”
She is concerned about children who walk to the bus stop.
Derek Lawrence, head of planning services at Maldon District Council, said there was no detailed assessment of glint and glare and impact on flights at Stow Maries Airfield.
He said construction lorries should avoid Hackmans Lane and Chimney Pot Lane to limit the impact on residents and road safety.
Purleigh Parish Council said the solar farm would have a “detrimental effect” on the landscape and was an “inappropriate” use of agricultural land, when brownfield sites or roof panels in industrial areas were alternatives.
But Christine Halls, of farming company Dalziel, at Jackletts Farm, said: “I don’t think the solar farm does glint or glare, because the panels are black.
“As far as what it looks like, it will all be hedged around.
“Hopefully it will be nice and landscaped and we’re hoping to graze sheep around it.”
She said there were not many homes that overlooked the fields and as the land will not be disturbed, it is hoped it will provide a good area for birds and other wildlife.
She added: “It is part of diversification to help with the agricultural process and we do believe solar is a better way to go than wind turbines.
“I am not sure how efficient wind turbines are and they do seem to be more of a blight on the landscape and very visible, whereas these panels are only 8ft high.”
Chelmsford City Council has received 43 comments on the plans and has yet to make a decision.
Lightsource said construction would take ten to 12 weeks and involve 200 HGV journeys.
The company said it consulted Chelmsford City Council in February before submitting its plans and invited planners and parish councillors from Purleigh, Bicknacre, Woodham Ferrers and Danbury to see a five megawatt solar farm in Cambridgeshire.
It said concerns about wildlife, traffic and screening were raised at public meetings were held in June. Lightsource said there would be no impact on wildlife, and hedges would be extended to screen the panels.
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