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D-Day for giant solar farm bid
9:08am Tuesday 21st August 2012 in News
A HUGE solar farm in Bridgwater which neighbours say would ruin the countryside could get the green light this morning (August 21).
The Mercury has previously reported on Wessex Solar Energy's bid for a 75,000-panel solar farm - the size of 20 football pitches - on three fields south of Durleigh Hill.
The application goes before Sedgemoor District Council's development control committee this morning and a council planning officer's recommendation is to approve the scheme.
Durleigh and Enmore parish councils, and North Petherton Town Council, have all lodged objections, and 15 letters have been penned to the district council, with concerns including the impact on the countryside, noise, and traffic.
A report for today's meeting reveals there would be 60 traffic movements per day to and from the site during construction, but that afterwards traffic would be minimal.
Sedgemoor District Councillor Ann Bown, whose ward covers Durleigh, said: “The solar park, I feel, would be visually intrusive to this very rural area.”
Wessex Solar Energy denies the solar farm would be intrusive to neighbours and planning officer Chris Gomm's report for today's meeting says noise, visual impact and traffic movements from the solar farm would be minimal, and that planning policy supports renewable energy projects in the countryside.
Mr Gomm recommends several conditions to planning approval, however, including that the site should not be accessible from Durleigh Hill, following concerns from Somerset County Council's highways department.
The solar farm would have a life-span of 25 years, after which it would be dismantled and the fields returned to their former state.
Check this website later for the outcome of today's meeting.