Developers behind a proposed 20.2 hectare solar farm in Little Chalfield insist they have learnt lessons from other local sites, amid growing concern over the cumulative effect of the Wiltshire solar ‘gold rush’.
Developers Sun Edison and Solar Planning Limited revealed plans on Tuesday at Broughton Gifford Village Hall for what would be the third new solar development on the edge of the village.
Last month residents on Norrington Lane voiced their anger after lorries delivering equipment to a 22-hectare site turned their lane into a muddy quagmire.
However Solar Planning Limited technical director Francesco Cornacchia said this would not be a problem this time.
He said: “I can’t comment directly on the other site, but it seems to me their construction was rushed to get the development through by April 1.
“We have planned this one well in advance so it is finished before Christmas, so we will avoid the rush and avoid cutting any corners.”
The firm hopes to submit a planning application next month, which could see the site completed by the end of the year.
Many Broughton Gifford residents at the meeting expressed concern at the proposal.
Bed-and-breakfast owner Darius Mehta said: “We already have experience of Norrington Farm, which has caused a real mess and all our roads are very, very narrow.”
Also attending the meeting was North Wiltshire MP James Gray and his wife Philippa, who live near the proposed site.
He said: “I think they shouldn’t be in the countryside, they should be on houses and factories and so forth.
“I take a general view on this matter and this is not my constituency, but I also happen to live here.”
She added: “We are all very sympathetic with the need for renewable energy, but there is a place for everything, and I don’t think a completely productive patch of unspoilt arable land in this area is the right place for an industrial development.
“It is cumulative effect that is the problem; the planning will go through and you won’t notice the impact until it’s built.”