Residents kept in the dark over solar farm plan

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Residents objecting to proposed solar panel farms in Pentlow and Belchamp St Paul have criticised a developer for a lack of communication.

Sovereign Partners has submitted plans for a 38-acre solar energy site at Big Deere Lodge in Belchamp St Paul, while Push Energy is set to apply for permission to build 62,000 panels on 66 acres of land south of Bunting’s Farm in Pentlow.

HORIZON: Christine Garner claims plans for a solar panel farm will ruin the landscape.

HORIZON: Christine Garner claims plans for a solar panel farm will ruin the landscape.

TGC Renewables has also created an outline proposal for around 49 acres of land at Sheering Place in Belchamp St Paul, with the company awaiting feedback before deciding whether to submit a formal planning application.

Angela Warner, whose house at Pannells Ash Farm overlooks Big Deere Lodge, said: “There was a presentation meeting in August we knew nothing about and there has been a lack of consultation. We have been totally ignored.”

Mrs Warner’s husband Keith added: “The submission to planners is flawed and full of inaccuracies. It states the area is not visible to residents which is untrue. It says no listed buildings will be affected and gives different figures for the size.”

He said as many as three additional projects could be in the pipeline in the area.

He backed objections by Christine Garner, whose farm neighbours Bunting’s Farm, which is owned by Pentlow Parish Council chairman Peter Brand, based on the land proposed for solar farms being good crop-growing land, impact on the scenery and wildlife and concerns over the devaluation of nearby houses.

Pentlow Parish Council has objected to Sovereign Partners’ scheme due to perceived impacts on the landscape and concerns over the potential cumulative effect of several schemes getting the go ahead.

Council chairman Clive Waite said a meeting will be held at Foxearth Village Hall on October 3 at 7.30pm.

Richard Meyers, from Sovereign Partners, said it was the only developer to have submitted a formal planning application. “There is no cumulative impact at the moment as there are no other solar panels in the area,” he said.

“We feel this is a good site as the panels will be hardly visible and facing away from houses. There will be very little detrimental effect on them.”

“We have presented to both Belchamp St Paul and Pentlow parish councils and have engaged with the community.”

A date has not been set for Sovereign Partners’ application to be determined by Braintree District Council.