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Giant Woolavington solar scheme set for approval?
ANOTHER giant solar farm in Sedgemoor could get the go-ahead next week – despite concerns it is in the wrong place.
Wessex Solar Energy’s bid for a 7MW solar farm on fields between Woolavington and East Huntspill, made up of 33,000 panels over 18.6 hectares, equivalent to about 30 football pitches, goes before Sedgemoor District Council’s development control committee on Tuesday.
Woolavington Parish Council has raised serious concerns but district planning officer Shawn Fleet has recommended the committee gives the all-clear.
The parish council said: “The land is in open countryside, poorly supported by infrastructure with significant remediation works required to access the site.”
The parish council queried why Wessex Solar Energy was not trying to join the proposed Huntspill Energy Park on the former Royal Ordnance Factory site instead, and said there should have been better consultation on the scheme.
However, Mr Fleet’s report for Tuesday’s meeting said the park would not have a “significant adverse impact on the character of the landscape”, because it would be well-screened by trees and hedgerows.
It also said the ROF site was “intended for large scale employment uses”, and that solar farms do not create significant ongoing employment opportunities.
Around 50 workers are expected to be on site during peak construction if the plans go ahead – if approved, it could be up and running early next year.
Wessex Solar Energy said the solar farm would have “relatively localised impacts when compared to a project such as a wind farm which can be seen over many miles.”
It says it is investing up to £7million in the project, and that Sedgemoor could receive up to £750,000 in retained business rates over the 25-year lifespan of the solar farm.
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