How we use Cookies

Huge solar farm planned for Aughton greenbelt land

Plans submitted to West Lancashire Borough Council by Hive Energy

Solar panels like these could be used at Aughton

Plans for a huge solar farm on greenbelt land in Aughton have been submitted to West Lancashire Borough Council.

Residents and parish councillors have vowed to fight the proposal, which they believe will completely change the landscape of their village.

The 36 hectare site in question is located to the west of Grade II listed Gerard Hall on Prescot Road.

The proposed development by Hive Energy will consist primarily of a steel framework to support the solar panels. A number of small inverters and a control room building would be introduced, plus 2.4m high security fencing to protect the scheme from theft and vandalism.

At the Aughton Parish Council meeting on Monday, councillors voted unanimously to object to the plans after residents raised their concerns.

John Relton, who lives on Butchers Lane which runs adjacent to the proposed site, said: “We heard about this proposed development back in September when we had a consultation but then nothing happened and we thought the developers had decided to abandon the plans, but then this application went in.

“Me and a lot of the other residents just don’t understand how it has been allowed to get this far.

“The land is prime arable greenbelt and should not be used for a solar farm.

“Rare pink footed geese also use the fields in the winter, so what will happen to them if this development is passed.

“On Butchers Lane some residents have had planning permission for small extensions to their homes refused, so we just can’t see how this massive development would be allowed, it will completely change the aspect of the whole area

“We are planning to fight this, and are calling on other residents to join our campaign.”

A spokesman for Hive Energy said: “Following consultation with residents the scheme has been amended and the panels set back 50m from Butchers Lane.

“We propose to plant a wildflower meadow between the Butchers Lane hedgerow and the nearest panels.

“A community orchard with fruit trees could be placed on this buffer zone to further screen the solar park from Butchers lane and provide a sustainable project for local residents.

“If the solar park goes ahead a community fund will be made available to benefit the local community. Based on a 17mw solar farm around £68,000 could be available to support good causes.

“The development proposals on greenbelt are considered acceptable as the gains in terms of the proposal offering gains in terms of energy generation exceed the loss of greenbelt land.”

The plans are now due to go before the council’s planning committee in September, where representatives from the parish council will be able to air their views.

comments powered by Disqus