'Solar farm plan is one too many'
AN APPLICATION for a controversial second solar farm on the outskirts of Luxulyan, which will cover almost 70 acres of farmland, is set to be put forward.
More than 20 parishioners attended a preliminary meeting on Monday to hear of Elgin Energy's plans for another installation near Tregarrick Farm.
Planning consent was recently confirmed for another application – for 42 acres of solar panels north west of Bodiggo at Tredinnick.
Roger Smith, who is spearheading the opposition movement, said: "The parish council supported a solar farm development at Tredinnick, in the genuine belief that this would be sufficient as the parish's contribution towards renewable energy."
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The latest application is still subject to an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), but there is anger that – although the plans have been mooted since May – Elgin Energy did not contact the parish council or local people until earlier in the month.
Mr Smith received a letter from Cornwall Council in May, responding to his initial concerns which said: "The developer is being encouraged to engage with the local community and specifically the parish council as a precursor or pre-requisite to taking a proposal any further."
Parish council clerk Nick Legard confirmed Elgin Energy's first correspondence with the local authority was dated September 18, four months after Cornwall Council's recommendation.
The proposed installation will consist of 40,000 free-standing static solar panels, divided into eight separate fields. This equates to a space of 283,280 square metres, or nearly 40 football pitches.
Mr Smith said: "Tregarrick Farm, added to the Tredinnick scheme, will transform the attractive rural area around the hamlet of Bodiggo (a Domesday manor) into an industrialised zone of metal and glass. Objectors are not opposed to solar energy but feel it should not overwhelm a community."
In their notification to Luxulyan Parish Council, Elgin Energy said: "The exhibition will provide both residents and stakeholders an opportunity to comment on and inform the development prior to the submission of a planning application.
"The proposal will not result in any detrimental harm to the site or surrounding area. There will be no permanent loss of agricultural land.
"Rather the development represents a diversification of agricultural land as the site can continue to be used for such purposes during the project period. Overall, the impact will be minimal and of no detriment to the site or surrounding area."
A public consultation event will be held at 5pm on Monday, October 1 at Luxulyan village hall.