Residents asked to give their views on solar farm plans for Preston, Cirencester

Concerns about new solar farm plans for Cirencester

Concerns about new solar farm plans for Cirencester

First published in News Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

RESIDENTS of Cirencester have been invited to submit their views on a new solar farm which could be moving into a Preston field.

Belectric UK held a meeting at Cirencester Town Football Club on July 21 to allow members of the community to hear about and view the plans for the farm, which could be based off Witpit Lane, near Preston, Cirencester.

Many people attending the consultation said that their main concern was if they would be able to see the solar farm, which will be able to create energy for 5,000 homes, from their windows at home.

Development and planning manager Raoul Tufnell said that it was one of their top priorities to make sure the farm could not be seen by any nearby households.

"We want people to participate in the design of the farm," he said. "We will be taking in a lot of comments and they will all be taken into account."

Belectric UK believes that solar farms can become popular if they are done well. The company is also planning on turning the field into an area suitable for wildlife.

"It's a lot about bio-diversity and creating habitats" added Raoul. "We have plans for habitats for hedgehogs, bees, bats, barn owls and more."

The consultation was held on a Friday afternoon and evening and was well attended by members of the public.

Siddington resident Diana Tasker said she was especially worried about the solar farm because it is the main route she uses to ride her horses.

She said she would instead have to ride along a busy main road and bridge.

"My main concern is that drivers coming out of the access point to the farm could make the horse panic and I would fall off ," she said. "I think the access point should be further away from the bridge over the A417. It is critical that it's safe."

Another resident, who asked not to be named, said that she was not very happy with the plans in general.

"I really do worry I will be able to see it from my house," she said.

The solar company will be inviting schools and local community groups to visit the farm and learn about how solar and nature can work to benefit the environment if the application made to Cotswold District Council later this summer is approved.

To comment on the plans email cirencester@belectric.co.uk or write to BELECTRIC UK, Cirencester Solar Farm, Thorney Weir House, Thorney Mill Lane, Iver, Buckinghamshire, SL0 9AQ.

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