COMMUNITY projects in Melksham could benefit from a yearly £40,000 grant if plans for Wiltshire’s largest solar farm are accepted on the edge of town.
Plans have been drawn up for a 67 hectare installation of solar panels on farmland south of Sandridge Hill, which would meet 10 per cent of the whole county’s renewable energy needs.

Plans for the farm were presented by Sandridge Solar Power Ltd at a meeting in Melksham Town Hall on Wednesday. Director John Hughes said: “Once it’s constructed, every year we would make a contribution of £1,000 per megawatt, which will be put into a community fund.

“We would hope they spend it on environmental projects, for example solar panel schemes for a local school, or if a church needs a new roof.”

Mr Hughes said: “We will take feedback from this event and see whether we have to amend part of the project, then we hope to submit the application in the second week of November.”

Work to install the panels is expected to start next year, with the park generating power by the spring.

Melksham Without Parish Council chairman Richard Wood said: “I think there are mixed feelings. It’s quite a large area of Greenfields, but we all feel there should be something in it for the community.

“It’s very difficult as we haven’t seen the plans. Generally we are in favour of alternative energy, but we will look at every application case-by-case.

“I think the initial presentation reassured me it’s not going to be visible from Melksham, but it will be visible from Sandridge Hill, and parts of Seend.