Steering group for solar panel objectors

PUBLISHED: 12:00 29 June 2013

Bleadon resident Malcom Richards' view of the five fields where the proposed site would go.

Bleadon resident Malcom Richards' view of the five fields where the proposed site would go.

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RESIDENTS who have vowed to fight a proposed solar panel development that could span five fields have created a steering group to 'formalise their objections'.

North Somerset Council has extended the period of public consultation for the proposed site in Bleadon, containing 32,000 solar panels, by 28 days.

More than 60 residents have now received letters to formally notify them of the proposal and the revised closing date of July 16 for them to register their views on the application.

A council spokesman said the extension had been granted to ensure as many people as possible had the opportunity and time to comment.

Solar energy developer Energi Installations hopes to install the panels at South Hill Farm to provide renewable energy which will be fed into the national grid.

Bleadon Parish Council agreed to support the proposal after receiving just one letter of objection, but members said they were surprised by how little communication there had been considering the size of the development.

Colin Robins, who has helped set up a steering group along with seven other Bleadon residents, said: “To be honest, the feeling we had was that there has been very little consultation.

“The extension means we now have time to formalise our objections and come up with something more structured in terms of making sure the views of all those people are listened to.”

Since the consultation was extended, the application has received more objections from 
people living near the proposed site.

Key concerns cited by objectors relate to the size of the development, potential glare from the panels, increased traffic and the appearance of the perimeter fence and CCTV cameras.

North Somerset has just begun consulting on a document which would form a strategy for the future siting of solar arrays.

The guidance document says that, where practical, panels should be sited on previously developed land. It is available for comments until July 12.

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