Villagers are up in arms over possible 100 acre solar farm

8:02am Thursday 26th June 2014

THERE has been an outcry of anger in a picturesque Vale village after initial plans to cover nearly 100 acres of the parish with solar panels have been revealed.

Villagers living in Great Comberton are up in arms over the plans by TGC Renewables, which at this early stage propose to build a solar panel farm over 91.5 acres on land at Lilworth Farm just outside the village for a period of 25 years.

The area of land, which is overlooked by Bredon Hill, is described as the jewel in the crown of Wychavon by locals, who say they will come together to try and prevent the development.

John Woodcock, of Pershore Road, Great Comberton, lives next to farm.

He said: "The main thing is the views from Bredon Hill, because you can't hide it from that. Why are they not looking at brown field sites, to put it right in the middle of an open area of farm land does seem against government policy."

Another villager Diana Carter, of Church Street, said: "It will ruin the village. This is the gateway into the village. The number of people that come to walk up the hill. I am sure it will effect the value of our houses."

Geoff Wright, of Main Street, added: "We are in favour of sustainable energy but swallowing up valuable countryside and farm area in such an important scenic area seems to be an enormous folly. This area is the jewel in the crown of Wychavon's scenic beauty, it seems crazy."

But TGC Renewables, the company behind the plans, which will be discussed further at a public consultation exhibition on Monday, defended the site choice.

They said the site has been selected as it is close to the existing electricity infrastructure and is suitably graded land with existing mature boundary treatments, adding trees and hedgerows would only be enhanced and the land would be retained for agricultural use via sheep grazing.

Roy Amner, director, also said: "We hope via the consultation event, we are able to present our proposals and it will allow us to gather any appropriate feedback from the local community so we can ensure that the proposals that may go forward to a formal planning application are appropriate.

"There is a community benefit associated with our proposal which is £1,000 per annum per MWp for the first 10 years of the site’s operation, shared between the parish councils, on a percentage of land deployed within the respective parish boundaries.

"If the scheme is consented and deployed, this equates to up to £200,000 of benefit shared between the parish councils.

"Based on our pre-planning assessments, we have already revised our site proposals to remove any development within the Little Comberton Parish area."

The public exhibition will take place at Great Comberton Village Hall on Monday (June 30) between 3pm and 7pm.

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