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Solar farm plans for 60-acre farmland site

The proposed access point for a solar panel scheme at Handley Park near Abthorpe. PNL-140605-163715001

The proposed access point for a solar panel scheme at Handley Park near Abthorpe. PNL-140605-163715001

A solar farm proposed for 60-acres of Northants countryside could generate enough electricty to supply 2,400 homes, say developers.

Haymaker Energy has submitted plans to South Northants Council to develop arable farmland at Handley Park, just outside Abthorpe. Its proposal, says the firm, will help the government to meet its renewable energy target of 15 per cent by 2020.

The photovoltaic panels will generate 12MW of power and will be no higher than 2,4metres from the ground. They will run across the site from east to west, with around 4.5m inbetween rows, enough to support grazing sheep.

Security ‘deer’ fencing, to a height of 2,4m, will surround the site which also includes transformers and a control room.

Haymaker Energy director Harry Shepherd-Cross said concerns about access to the site, raised by Abthorpe Parish Council in its objection to the plans, will be addressed by traffic management.

He added: “The plans have been very well received. It is impossible in England to have solar farms that are entirely invisible. This is a low impact site with few neighbours and the site was selected on that basis.”

But opponents to the scheme say it would be an ‘eyesore’ and there would be a negative ‘cumulative effect’ on neighbours as Handley Park is next to Shacks Barn solar farm, where 5MW of energy is produced.

Caroline Brocklehurst, of Charlock Stud in Abthorpe, said: “There are several vast barns with south facing roofs at Handley Park which would be an excellent alternative location for solar panels.”

SNC is continuing its consultation for the solar farm before the development control committee considers the scheme.

 

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