Traffic worry on Castle Combe Circuit solar farm
Updated 9:39am Saturday 9th August 2014 in By Joanne Moore
Families living close to Castle Combe Circuit are worried plans to build a solar farm at the track will mean months of road chaos.
Plans have been submitted by Solafields and Vogt Solar to develop land in the centre of the track for a solar farm big enough to power around 4,000 homes a year.
The firms behind the plan say that a construction traffic management plan will be put in place to ensure any disruption during the 16 weeks it takes to build the farm is kept to a minimum – but there are worries that the B4039 will be congested.
A public exhibition was held at the circuit in May so the public could view the plan.
Mark Candlish of Solafields said: “In terms of visual impact, this site is particularly well suited to a solar farm, given the land in the middle of the race circuit is well screened thanks to the bund surrounding the track and the protective fencing.
“We completely agree with those people who felt biodiversity must be improved on the solar farm site. Solar farms can dramatically increase the number and variety of species using a site.
“The meadow we plant will help this and we will be installing log piles for insects and boxes for birds.”
He said the traffic management plan would help to overcome worries about traffic.
But it is likely to be one of the topics worrying parish councillors in Castle Combe and Yatton Keynell when they meet to discuss the plan later this month.
Castle Combe Parish Council clerk David Ryall said he and councillors could not comment on the application until after the meeting but he said traffic disruption during big events at the race track had been a major problem in the past.
A community benefit fund will be set up, offering at least £50,000 over the first five years of the solar farm to support local renewable energy, energy efficiency or other projects.
A spokesman for Vogt Solar and Solafields said roadworks would be needed to lay cable to the substation in Chippenham, most likely through Yatton Keynell. Work would take two to three months.
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