‘Solar farm will lead to loss of arable land’

News from the Lincs Free Press and Spalding Guardian, spaldingtoday.co.uk, @LincsFreePress on Twitter
News from the Lincs Free Press and Spalding Guardian, spaldingtoday.co.uk, @LincsFreePress on Twitter
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Sutton St James – dubbed ‘Solar St James – may get more ground-based solar panels with a new planning application in the pipeline.

South Holland District Council has received an application from Little Eau Solar Ltd for a development at New Fen Dike.

Full details aren’t available, but a short summary says the application involves “ground mounted photovoltaic (PV) solar arrays to provide 5MWp generation capacity together with transformer stations, internal access track, electricity substation, landscaping, fencing, security measures, access gate and ancillary infrastructure”.

The agent for Little Eau is B E Renewables, which acted for Fendyke Solar Ltd when it got consent in November for a 52-acre site.

Those plans originally involved a much bigger array but 30-acres were axed and there was a pledge to set up a community benefit fund worth just under £18,000 a year to Sutton St James.

Resident Paul Hinks, who spoke against those plans at South Holland’s planning committee, said he understands the latest application involves a site of about 30 acres.

But he said it will be the third development of its type in the parish – and he will again oppose it.

Mr Hinks said: “We have already got Grange Farm, which is about 40 acres – I think 52 acres at Fendyke Solar and I think this is about 30 acres.

“It’s all in one parish and we are getting inundated with them.

“I think it’s because of the location of the substation at Jiggles Gate.

“I think arable land in the Fens should be kept for food production.”

Mr Hinks said there are other and better places for renewable energy projects.

He said Little Eau was unveiled at the same time as Fendyke Solar, but the village had always expected the bigger project to proceed first.