People living in an area in North Cornwall which could become a solar triangle of panels say they will fight planning applications which they say could ruin their rural area.
More than 130 people attended a public meeting at Week St Mary on Friday to hear about plans by Wiltshire-based Good Energy for a proposed 135,000 photo voltaic panels on 224 acres on four farms between Week St Mary and Canworthy Water. There are also plans for a 25-acre solar park on 135 acres at Lower Wheatley Farm, Maxworthy, almost next door.
The prospect of 359 acres of panels, combined with a rumour that wind turbines could be erected above them, has infuriated those who will live near them.
The meeting, chaired by Michael Goodman, heard that one cottage, Little Exe, would be surrounded by panels. The Moxon family, who live at Little Exe Cottage, said they will be surrounded by fields of panels and the 12 feet high fencing which will surround them to protect the panels from deer. They have set up a site littleexecottage.wordpress.com which has already received a lot of support.
Pauline Smeeth, who spoke at the meeting and is helping a campaign against the proposals, said the problem was the size of the solar farms.
“As well as humans there will be so many animals affected. We see herds of over 30 deer here, hares have come back, and the value of properties around here will be affected.
“We can see one wind turbine from our window, and there is nothing wrong with that. There is a 40 acre solar farm near Boyton and you can see little of that.
“But these proposals are too big. Give every household two solar panels for their own use and no-one would mind.”
Mrs Smeeth said they had been told that nothing would be happening on the planing front until September, but she appealed to residents to keep their eyes on Cornwall Council’s planning website. A group of residents had formed a committee, and, she said: “We are ready to fight.”
Hugh House, head of development at Good Energy, attended the meeting and afterwards he told the Cornish Guardian: “We’re at an early stage with this project and we are still developing our plans. In our work as a renewables developer, Good Energy is committed to listening to and working with the communities close to our projects. That’s why I felt it was important to attend the meeting Mrs Smeeth organised in Week St Mary last week and listen to people’s views.
“We will make sure that we factor in these views. If and when we move forward with the project we will look at how we base the benefits that we want to deliver to the community on local feedback.”
Mr House added: “Something we are working hard on is how we might provide a discounted, green electricity tariff for people living within the area, so that they benefit from the scheme directly.”
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