Energy park plan for ‘Solar’ St James

Residents of Sutton St James opposing a plan for a 81-acre solar park. SG270114-117NG
Residents of Sutton St James opposing a plan for a 81-acre solar park. SG270114-117NG
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Residents are calling for their village to be renamed Solar St James after plans for the county’s biggest renewable energy park on their doorstep.

The plan by Fendyke Solar Ltd is the third being considered for Sutton St James and would mean the loss of 81 acres of grade 2 “capable” agricultural land.

There is also a plan by the same applicant for a 78 meter wind turbine off Old Fendyke.

Bella Faulkner, who lives in Broadgate and would be directly opposite the park, lost no time after receiving notification of the plan last Saturday to call on residents to fight it.

She printed posters to be distributed around the village, urging residents against the plans to lodge their complaints with South Holland District Council (SHDC) by the deadline of February 6.

Mrs Faulkner said: “Only last Monday on BBC Look North there was a feature on the solar park at Sleaford which, at 50 acres, was said to be the biggest in the county – this one is much bigger.

“Martin Hill, leader of Lincolnshire County Council, said that there are too many solar applications being lodged in the county using high grade land and it must be curtailed.

“Greg Barker, Minster for Renewables, said the same thing and agreed that the county was being targeted because of high light levels and flat open fields and said that they would have to take measures to ensure that these developments only go on brownfield sites, poor land and factory roofs.”

Ten houses will be directly affected and a further ten will see the site from a distance.

The field is claimed to be grade 3b, acceptable under new government guidance, after being used for vegetable dumping and being flooded, which damaged the soil structure.

Mrs Faulkner said: “I moved here 17 years ago because of the lovely views. Apart from the glare from the panels, there will be noise from the cooling fans and a lot of traffic while the site is under construction.

“Our crossroads is already dangerous and if the plan is approved it will be worse.

“Only residents directly opposite were informed. but we want everyone concerned about this to lodge their comments with SHDC.”

John North, a local farmer, said £50,000 was spent repairing Barlings Drove last year. He said: “Now it looks like it will be dug up again.

“I’m not against solar panel parks in principle, but I question the morality of further reducing the area of good quality land.

“Who wants to look out at glaring glass and a prison-like fence?”