Outcry grows over giant solar farm plan for Westhampnett

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Villagers rallied to oppose plans for a giant solar farm in Westhampnett last night, as a presentation from developers failed to abate residents’ fears.

The parish council agreed to request the proposals be scrapped on the basis of insufficent information following outcry over the 16-hectare plan bordering the village.

Presenting plans at the meeting, Tom Coates from West Sussex County Council explained that the former landfill site was unable to be used for leisure purposes due to methane emission levels.

But one resident said the collection of 28,098 panels would be built just five metres from her lounge window, destroying the view and the value of her home.

She said: “You’re going to ruin our assests, you’re going to ruin our lives, what is the compensation for us?

“I don’t want to live here anymore, I think I’m going to cry when I think about what you’re going to do to us.”

Concers were also raised over the possible long term effects on wildlife such as skylarks, health and safety fears to do with the electromagnetic field, and potential drainage issues.

Speaking for developing agent DDP, Garath Hooper told the meeting that a drainage investigation would be carried out into how to enhance the exisiting system.

But county councillor Jeremy Hunt said he was ‘deeply disturbed’ by the amount of reports the outline application was waiting on.

He said: “I think this is an insufficent, incomplete plan and I will be going to speak to Jane Moseley and request that this is withdrawn and ask them to come back with some proper, half decent drawings.”

With a statutory deadline set for October 20 for consultation responses, parish council chairman Bill Harding said it was impossible for the parish to comment if it didn’t know what it was commenting on.

The application is due to come to planning committee on November 25.

Related news: Tangmere solar farm reaches milestone

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