By Matthew Gooding
Thursday, March 27, 2014
One of the largest solar farms in the country, spanning 250 acres, is set to be built in Crow country.
Developers UK Solar Power are seeking permission to build the farm at Vine Farm, Shingay-cum-Wendy. The farm would stretch from Wendy to the edge of Bassingbourn Barracks.
A consultation exhibition is taking place today (Thursday) at Wendy village hall, from 3pm-8pm.
But residents who contacted the Crow were concerned that not enough has been done to alert the community to the scale of the plans.
One Wendy resident, who asked not to be named, said: “There have been flyers posted round but at short notice; they are small and underplay the scale and potential impact. It’s 250 acres or 150 football pitches!
“I am worried that the developers are going through the consultation process but not engaging as enthusiastically as they could, or indeed say they want to be.
“I think most people understand the benefit of solar power but most don’t like the scale of this proposal and I think the developers could do a better job of bringing it to the community’s attention. An open session for only five hours for such a huge project seems rather miserly.”
Several companies have gained planning permission for solar farms in fields surrounding Royston over the last year, as landowners look to take advantage of government subsidies for solar energy providers.
Carl-Niklas Wentzel, founder of UK Solar Provider Ltd, said: “We believe the site is perfectly suited for developing a solar farm, since it is already very well shielded by large hedgerows and set between the farm’s grain storage buildings and the Bassingbourn Barracks. Minimising the visual impact of this development was always the prior goal in choosing the location.
He added; “We believe green energy generated by solar panels is a great benefit to the whole community, if done correctly”
The application is due to go before a South Cambridgeshire District Council planning committee after the consultation, who will decide whether to approve or reject it.
Stuart Rye, leader of Shingay-cum-Wendy Parish Council, said: “I think is is really important that everybody gets an opportunity to see the plans and have a proper consultation. I do not feel a five-hour consultation is enough and I am a bit worried that not enough people know about the consultation.”
Cllr David McCraith, who sits on the planning board of South Cambridgeshire Council, said: “I have spoken to the owners of the land and to the parish council about the application.
“I think the council should discuss what they want with the applicant. If he is willing to discuss things they may find that amendments can be made to the plans far more easily.”