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Residents get to see solar plans
8:00am Thursday 10th October 2013 in News
RESIDENTS living near the proposed site of a new solar park were shown plans and asked for their opinions during a public consultation.
It was put on by AGRenewables (AGR) and showed its proposal for a 40MW solar park on land at Cowdown Farm, south of the A303, near Andover.
If developed, the solar park would have the capacity to generate enough renewable energy to power up to 9,180 average UK households and save up to 16,850 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year.
A drop-in public exhibition was held at the Sports Pavilion, in Upper Clatford, on Thursday, 19 September.
Sophie Buttress, of AGR, said: “The exhibition was a good opportunity for us to meet local people and present our initial proposals and answer questions.
“We were very pleased with the support shown so far and the constructive comments made by visitors to the exhibition and the project website.
“We’re now reviewing the comments and considering how they can be addressed in our final proposals.
We would ask that anyone else with questions or comments should contact us before 4 October.”
The solar park would see a dual use of the land as it would continue to be used for agriculture while energy is being generated.
Sheep would graze around and beneath the solar panels and the site would be managed as a species-rich/nectar-rich grassland meadow, attracting birds and insects.
The solar park site is the lowest yielding area of land on the farm.
Ms Buttress added: “We received support for our plans to reinforce the existing natural screening of the solar park site.
“Established hedgerows and trees line the edges of the site but we are proposing to carry out some additional planting to ensure views of the solar park locally are minimal.
“We are also looking at some helpful suggestions on measures to improve the local footpath network.
“There was recognition that a carefully planned and designed project can have a low impact on the environment and landscape.”
If the solar park receives planning permission, AGR would set up a community benefit fund, which would be available for local initiatives and projects.
It would be a temporary development and would be decommissioned after 25 years.
AGR hopes to submit a planning application to Test Valley Borough Council later in the autumn.
The consultation period ends today and comments and questions can be sent to the project team via the website, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The information displayed at the exhibition is available on the website at cowdownsolar.co.uk.
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