POLL: Green light for solar farm near Hayle as councillor asks 'how many is too many?'
"Where does it stop?", is the question being asked by a Hayle councillor after plans to build a new solar farm close to the town were passed by a Cornwall Council committee last week.
Cornwall councillor for Hayle South John Coombe went to strategic planning last Thursday to oppose the proposal to put solar panels on 6.2 hectares of farm land at Wheal Alfred Road.
He spoke on behalf of local residents who objected to the plans by The Green Company (TGC) Renewables.
The application received 16 objections from members of the public
The plans to build a 3.48MWp solar park were passed but with extra constraints including the requirement for landscaped trees and extra furrows for drainage to help prevent possible flooding.
TGC will also provide a grant to the community, which could be used to fund extra screening for the site or for community projects to offset the impact of the development.
The company promised not to go ahead with a second application they had for a larger solar farm opposite this one.
Mr Coombe said: "They promised absolutely emphatically that they would not even consider putting another solar park in that field.
"The neighbours quite naturally would rather have green fields and sheep over solar panels.
"I believe that if the local people did not make a stand then they would have had the field developed opposite as well and it would have been much worse."
But Mr Coombe said although this development would go ahead, there was still time to come up with a concrete policy on future applications.
"The horrific thing was they showed a map showing the number of wind turbines and solar farms with those that are passed and those that are being applied for," he said.
"I think there are 50 or 55 solar farms in the pipeline now for Cornwall. How much do we have until it blights our society?"
TGC is planning to lease the land for the development, which will include the installation of ground based racking systems, mounted solar panels, power inverter stations, transformer stations, sub station, deer and security fencing, as well as associated access gates and CCTV security cameras mounted on free standing support poles.
The site is expected to produce enough renewable energy to power 796 homes each year.