Area’s first solar farm could be built in Grimsargh

A solar panel farm at Eastacombe
A solar panel farm at Eastacombe
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Mixed feelings surround plans for a solar farm in Grimsargh by Bristol based renewable energy company TGC Renewables which wants to develop two 5MW solar farms on grade four pasture land to the east of the Roman Way Industrial Estate at Fell View Farm, which the company claims will generate enough electricity to power 3,000 homes annually.

Bristol-based renewable energy company TGC Renewables wants to develop two 5MW solar farms on grade four pasture land to the east of the Roman Way Industrial Estate at Fell View Farm .

A farmer’s wife who did not wish to be named said: “I feel very strongly that they should not be putting the solar farm on agricultural land.

“Why can’t they put it on brownfield sites?”

She did not believe the farm, electricity from which would go to the national grid, would be of any benefit to the village, and pointed out the whole development covered an area as large as her farm, saying “this is an unbelieveable size!”

After hearing the land would still be grazed by sheep – free to walk under the solar panels – she also questioned whether this would be the case and did not believe that when the project came to an end after 25 years, the land would still be used for agricultural purposes.

TGC’s development director Roy Amner said: “The land will retain its agricultural classification and will continue to be grazed by sheep during its operation, therefore ensuring the land is not lost from food production and instead is used to create a secondary use (energy production).”

He also said it was ‘in-field’ deployment, with TGC committed to maintain and enhance the hedges, thus minimising its visual impact.

They would also be offering the parish council £100,000 over ten years and residents would be given the opportunity to invest in the project, by buying shares.

He said feedback from Monday’s exhibition at the village hall was “generally supportive,” most attendees acknowledging the plans would have a “low impact on the area”.

Eileen Murray, speaking as a resident, said she was initially “somewhat sceptical...cynical even about the long term prospects for the site”.

But she said that some of her fears had been “put to bed straight away” and she added that as a parish councillor would be keen to hear residents’ views and to listen to any concerns.