Whitchurch solar farm plans come under fire from objectors

Reporter:

Emily Davies

A 40-ACRE solar farm planned for land near Whitchurch will impact the region’s tourism, according to objectors.
 
The Open Spaces Society this week launched concerns that Lightsource SPV 34 Ltd’s plans for land at Fields Farm, Old Hall Street at Agden, Malpas, with an installation which would remain for up to 35 years, could put potential  walkers off visiting the region due to the visual impact it will have on the area.
 
In particular the organisation and local residents have voiced concern the destruction it could have to the Bishop Bennet bridleway, which runs through south west Cheshire.
 
OSS member Louise Doyle said the concerns lie with the fact that Whitchurch was a ‘Walkers Are Welcome’ town.
 
She continued: “The development will also affect a bridleway and public footpath which the applicant intends to use as an access route, for the next 30 years. They will be fenced off and flanked with CCTV cameras, making these routes really unpleasant.”
 
Dozens of local people have voiced similar concerns, including Steve and Wendy Thelwell, of Ashfields in Old Hall Street, who said: “Quite frankly we are very surprised that the application has even reached this stage.”
 
They also noted the additional pressure on the highways and the grade of the land where the solar farm is proposed.
 
However, Lightsource says the development would reduce the carbon footprint of Agden and Tushingham, Macefen and Bradley.
 
Agents Neo Environmental admitted users of the bridleway would be closest, but added: “Such views will be transient and last for a brief period.
 
"Many views from other public rights of way will be restricted by the intervening roadside and field hedgerows and the panels’ low height.”
 
No date has been set for a decision by Cheshire West and Chester Council.

See full story in the Whitchurch Herald

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