Solar panels could be built on farmland

PUBLISHED: 12:00 07 October 2015

The solar farm could be built in Axbridge.

The solar farm could be built in Axbridge.

Archant

A FARMER wants to build solar panels on his land to guard against going out of business.

Townsend Farm Limited wants to build the 140,000sqm site at Townsend Farm in Townsend, Axbridge, and has submitted a planning application to Sedgemoor District Council.

Although the solar farm development is described as being ‘temporary’, it would remain in place for 25 years.

The developer says the site would generate 4.9 mega watts of electricity a year, which could serve the power needs of around 1,020 homes.

The planning application says: “The site will be eligible to pay business rates to the local authority.

“Given the scale of the site, this will provide a significant financial income for the district, with income filtering down into local communities.

“The revenue generated for the agricultural enterprise will enable the local farmer to reinvest in his farm and will result in increased spending in the local economy as well as the potential for longer-term job creation resulting from more locally successful farming enterprises subsidised by the solar farm income.”

The developer says the site can still be used for grazing animals.

The planning application says it would be quick to construct the panels, and there would be ‘minimal disturbance’.

There would be a number of CCTV cameras installed to provide security on the site as well as a two metre-high fence and up to three small substation buildings.

Only one letter of objection has been lodged so far.

Robert Quantrill, who lives in Notting Hill Way in Axbridge, said: “I am very much against this application.

“It will be a big blot on the landscape, and will spoil an area of pleasant countryside.

“It will also be seen for miles around, spoiling an area of special interest and in a very popular visitor area.”

The developer says ‘buffer planting’ would help to mitigate any adverse effects on the landscape.

Consultation on the application will end on October 30.

Comments can be made on the application number 02/15/00019 on the Sedgemoor District Council website.

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