Sidlesham solar farm designs to be unveiled

PLANS for a solar farm in Sidlesham are set to be unveiled – and residents are being urged to find out more.

A renewable energy firm will be on hand to set out their vision for Bakers Farm, at the drop-in session on Tuesday (September 24).

“We would like to invite the local community to come and view our initial proposals for the solar farm and ask us questions,” said Sophie Buttress, who works for the firm AGRenewables (AGR).

“It’s also a really good opportunity for us to gather feedback and find out how we might be able to improve the plans.

“We’re keen to get comments from residents and feed these into our proposals where we can before they are finalised.”

If developed, the 13 megawatt solar farm would have the capacity to generate enough renewable energy to power up to around 4,000 homes and save up to around 5,869 tonnes of CO2 emissions a year.

The plans include a dual-use of the 50-acre site as agricultural, as well as a renewable energy hub.

“The environmental impacts of solar energy production are minimal, especially when compared to other renewable technologies,” said Ms Buttress.

“We are designing the solar farm at Baker’s Farm to have a minimal visual impact. The site is well screened and there are established hedgerows and trees along the borders of the site, which we would reinforce with additional planting.”

The solar farm would be decommissioned after 25 years, and the firm said with good management the land could be quickly returned to arable farming land or continued as pasture for grazing.

The public exhibition will be held at the Church Hall in Sidlesham on Tuesday, from 3pm until 8pm.

There will be photomontages of the site to show what it would like, as well as further information about the plans, and a chance for residents to have their say.

AGR’s pre-application consultation period will close on the October 11, to enable comments to be considered before the planning application is finalised and submitted.

When the planning application is submitted there will be a formal period of public consultation where representations can be made to Chichester District Council, which has the final say on whether the plans will go ahead.

Following public consultation, the firm said it is likely a planning application would be submitted to Chichester District Council in the autumn.

This comes after a solar farm bid in Hunters Rest, Lavant was approved by Chichester District Council earlier this year.

The application prompted mixed reaction from residents, but Lavant Parish Council opted to stay neutral.

For more information on the Sidlesham plans visit the website www.bakerssolarfarm.co.uk