Town council objects to solar farm proposal

PUBLISHED: 13:30 22 October 2015

The solar farm could be built in Axbridge.

The solar farm could be built in Axbridge.

Archant

A TOWN council has objected to plans for a solar farm which would remain in place for 25 years.

The farmer who owns Townsend Farm in Townsend, Axbridge, wants to create the 140,000sqm site so he can reinvest in his business.

Townsend Farm Limited has submitted a planning application for the energy farm to Sedgemoor District Council.

Axbridge Town Council discussed the plans on Monday night, and decided to object on environmental grounds, because of its visual impact on the landscape and fears over the effect on wildlife.

Councillor Pauline Ham said: “I agree with renewable energy. It is important we look at how we are going to light our homes.

“But I am also a great supporter of Axbridge and the area of outstanding natural beauty.

“It is important that wherever these solar farms are sited, we have thought long and hard and considered they are not going in a place where they are going to spoil the environment.”

Cheddar Parish Council and Compton Bishop Parish Council have also objected to the scheme.

Compton Bishop’s councillors said the panels would be ‘obtrusive’ and Cheddar said it was not necessary because a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point would be completed at some stage.

The plans include a number of CCTV cameras installed, as well as a two-metre high fence.

The developer says the farm would generate 4.9 megawatts of electricity a year, which could power around 1,020 homes.

The site could also be used by grazing animals.

Cllr Barbara Myerson said she was in two minds about whether to object to the application.

She said: “It will have an impact on the visual environment.

“However, I also have a strong commitment to renewable energy and I think if we are not careful, we will end up seeing no solar panels built anywhere.”

Councillors agreed to object to the scheme, and the plans will go before Sedgemoor District Council’s development committee later this year.

Townsend Farm Limited says if the plans are approved, a £10,000 grant would be given to Axbridge.

Councillors discussed what they would do with the money in the event of the solar farm being approved by Sedgemoor.

They decided it would go towards a new car park and children’s play equipment in the Furlong in Moorland Street.

Comments can be left on the application using the number 02/15/00019 on the Sedgemoor District Council website until November 2.

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