Future of solar farm in doubt after inspection

Artist impression of Shacks Barn Farm Solar Park
Artist impression of Shacks Barn Farm Solar Park
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Doubts have emerged over the construction of a £6 million solar farm near Whittlebury after an inspection by planning officers.

Last week the Advertiser reported that Hive Energy were rushing to complete the Shacks Barn Solar Farm in order to take advantage of the current incentives regime which ends on March 31.

But last week South Northants Council officers called a halt to construction, on the grounds that it was not being built in accordance to the planning permission it was given.

Councillor Dermot Bambridge, South Northants Council’s member for nearby Silverstone and cabinet member for environment, said there had been no objection to the five megawatt plant, which would be capable of powering 1,500 homes.

Mr Bambridge said: “It looks a lot more dense than it should do, the layout is not as passed by councillors.”

Mr Bambridge added some of the 20,000 solar panels appeared to be too close together, affecting its visual impact, and interfering with drainage.

Mr Bambridge added: “I’m sure they will get it resolved. Obviously it is alternative energy, which has to be a good thing.

“There were no objections, certainly from Silverstone to the application. I think people realise it is a better alternative to wind power which doesn’t go down very well.

“I personally think alternative power is going to be more and more important as time goes on and we rely less and less on fossil fuels.”

A spokesman for SNC said Hive has ceased construction until new plans can be agreed by the council. However since works are so advance it has held back on issuing an enforcement notice.

She added: “In the event that the revised scheme is refused, the council shall proceed to take enforcement action if the developer does not revert back to the original planning permission.”

No one from Hive was available for comment at the time of going to press.