Residents dismay at solar project on village doorstep

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Residents of picturesque Evenley have reacted with dismay to a proposal for a solar farm on the outskirts of the village.

Residents had welcomed other solar farm projects in south Northants fields, but believe the proposal by Green Energy UK Direct for the field just off Broad Lane is too close to their community.

Field off Broad Lane in Evenley were Green Energy UK Direct want to build a 2.5megawatt solar farm.

Field off Broad Lane in Evenley were Green Energy UK Direct want to build a 2.5megawatt solar farm.

Last week South Northants Council planning officers told the firm they would not need to carry out an environmental impact assessment ahead of a full planning application.

Green Energy wants to build a 2.5-megawatt solar farm on the 14-acre site with associated monitoring equipment and fencing. Sandra Pass has lived on Broad Lane for more than 30 years.

She said: “I think solar panels are horrendous, I hate them on houses. How can you think about spoiling a beautiful country lane like this?”

Another resident who asked not to be named said: “The main thing would be the spoiling of the view. I’ve lived here since these houses were built, so the impact of a large agricultural building project in the field opposite is not a pleasant thought.”

Rod Crosby, business development manager for Green Energy said while it was a commercial venture there were wider benefits in terms of emissions and energy security.

He said they approached the farmer about using two of his fields for solar farms, but the field off Broad Lane was the only one which could be connected to the National Grid within budget. He added: “If we apply for full planning permission we would mitigate residents’ ability to see the actual panels.” Mr Crosby said such projects could provide a dual income to farmers as fields could still be used for grazing.