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Site visit needed before Wiltshire councillors decide on Sandridge Solar Farm

Wake up Wiltshire campaigners.

Wake up Wiltshire campaigners.

THE decision whether to award the Sandridge Solar Farm planning permission or not has been delayed to allow councillors a chance to visit the site. 

The controversial plans to build a huge solar farm has caused outrage amongst residents and has led to a campaign group called Wiltshire Protect being formed to oppose the plans.

A decision was expected to be made at a recent Wiltshire Council Strategic Planning Committee meeting, but councillors decided a site visit was needed before a decision could be made.

The large site to the east of Melksham would generate enough power to generate electricity across the whole town and would also provide a community fund worth over £1million to Melksham.

Jack Churchill, organiser of Wiltshire Protect said, “They decided to have a site visit as it is important it is considered properly. i would rather they made a visit and got the decision right.

“The councillors at the meeting were from all over Wiltshire so some aren’t familiar with the area so for them a visit would have huge benefits – I just hope they reach the right conclusion.

“We are in favour of renewables, but are against the siting of so many solar farms in any one residential, rural part of the county. The village of Seend is so affected by these developments because it is located on a ridge at 87m above sea level, with much of the surrounding area below 60m.

“If Sandridge Solar Park is given permission, the village of Seend will be surrounded and in my view the landscape character and visual amenity of this area will become industrialised, possibly forever. Once there are solar parks constructed, the warehousing will arrive and it won’t be long before Devizes, Melksham and Trowbridge become more or less joined.

“Sandridge Solar Park is massive and if constructed, will cover 17 agricultural fields totalling 198 acres. There will be 160,000 solar panels, inverter buildings, access roads and many miles of unattractive security fencing.”

The committee will visit Seend on Wednesday 23rd April to judge the impact on the area, before they decide whether to grant planning permission.