Kirkby residents fear solar farm will be ‘vandalism’ of green belt land

Solar panels on an existing solar farm.
Solar panels on an existing solar farm.

Residents are fighting plans to build a huge solar farm on green belt land behind their homes - fearing it will set a precedent for developing on the protected area.

Plans have been submitted to Ashfield District Council to build a 9.2 hectare solar farm on land adjacent to Warren House, off Warren Avenue in Annesley - land that lies between Kirkby, Annesley and Newstead.

Steve Marshall is concerned about plans for a solar farm on land behind his house.

Steve Marshall is concerned about plans for a solar farm on land behind his house.

It is currently pasture land for grazing animals but if the proposals are given the go ahead it would become a 4MW solar farm that would generate enough electricity to supply the annual needs of 1,091 average UK households.

However people living in the surrounding area have written to the council objecting to the plans on a number of grounds.

Derby Road resident Steve Marshall said that the development would be ‘vandalism’ and a ‘blight on the landscape’.

His property has views directly onto the development site and he thinks that because his house is high uphill from ut, he will be looking straight down onto the solar farm.

“I think changing farmland, green belt land, to industrial, commercial land has got to be a last resort,” he said.

“We don’t want to open the door for green belt development.

“The fear is if it does get passed it will go from a little eyesore to a massive eyesore.

“It will set a precedent.”

Steve has been gathering opposition to the plans from neighbours, with other objections they have raised including worries about the destruction of wildlife habitat and about reflections from the solar panels.

The planning application is also for ancillary buildings, 2m high security fencing, CCTV and access tracks.

COMPANY SETS OUT CASE FOR SOLAR FARM

The company behind the solar farm plans is YGE Warren House Limited. In its application, a Planning, Design and Access Statement sets out the company’s case for the development.

It states that the solar farm ‘does not adversely affect the character, quality, amenity or safety of the environment, does not adversely affect highway safety or capacity of the transport system, and does not conflict with an adjoining or nearby land use’.

It also argues that it constitutes very special circumstances for development in the Green Belt