Villagers support solar bid

This Is Wiltshire: Tom Charnock, the chairman of the Stanton Fitzwarren Council, who welcomes the plans for the solar farm Tom Charnock, the chairman of the Stanton Fitzwarren Council, who welcomes the plans for the solar farm

A SOLAR farm application has been welcomed by the green-thinking residents of Stanton Fitzwarren, according to parish council chairman Tom Charnock.

JBM Solutions, a firm established to pursue solar developments, has formally lodged an application with Swindon Council to build a five megawatt park in 13.3 hectares north of the village.

Stanton Solar Park, as it would be known, will be installed on farmland owned by Steve Benson Farming Ltd, east of Trenchard Road and south of the B4019, which links Highworth with Blunsdon.

Tom said Stanton Fitzwarren Parish Council had been approached by JBM eight weeks ago.

He said the farm had been mostly welcomed, with one or two stipulations, such as screening the solar modules from the village and improving the sightline for drivers on Trenchard Road.

“It will be visible as you travel along the Blunsdon to Highworth road and one of the concerns is that we get a lot of people rat running through the village,” he said.

“There have been a number of accidents and close misses as traffic turns onto that Blunsdon to Highworth road.

“The developer agreed to re-line the hedging so people leaving the village can see further.

“A lot of people in the village have a positive viewpoint in regard to climate change, unlike our American cousins.”

The application includes permission for 26 years after work starts, including six months for the commissioning, a 25-year operational period and a six-month decommissioning period.

Once finished, the solar park would be connected to the national grid at the existing electricity substation, adjacent to the fields on the other side of Trenchard Road.

The construction phase is expected to take eight weeks.

Access for construction vehicles is to be via existing access points off Trenchard Road.

“The parish said they were minded to support the application subject to the things we had suggested: Better sight-lines and screening,” said Tom.

“We have not had any objections voiced to us by villagers. “It seems to be quite a low impact project.”

The solar park will produce enough electricity sufficient to power 1,100 average homes – 30 per cent of households in Stanton Fitzwarren and Highworth.

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