COUNCILLORS have this afternoon (April 22) given the green light for Littlehampton’s first solar farm to be built on the northern outskirts of the town.
Arun District Council’s development control committee approved plans for 13,200 solar panels to be installed on a 5.2 hectare (12.5 acre) site at Brookbarn Farm, Wick, at the western end of Old Mead Road.
The farm, once constructed, would be capable of generating enough energy for 1,060 homes.
Renewables company Anesco Ltd, which has similar installations across the UK, submitted the proposals through its planning consultants Pegasus Group.
The site had previously been used as a landfill tip and is rated as lower grade agricultural land.
At the meeting, at the New Millennium Chamber, in Manor House, Littlehampton, concerns had been raised by a resident living in Old Mead Road who feared construction traffic would cause untold damage to the small, unadopted street.
However, agent Lee Adams, of Anesco Ltd, explained that any damage would be addressed and repaired.
Outside the meeting, Arun had received 13 individual letters of objection from other residents in Old Mead Road, and one from the Bognor Regis and Littlehampton prospective parliamentary candidate, Nick Gibb, who felt the site was an ‘inappropriate development’ that was too close to a residential area.
However, Manou Amirpashaie, whose home is situated on the border of the solar farm, told the committee today that he had no problem with the plans.
“I am the most impacted by this development being proposed because my property adjoins the site being put forward,” he said. “Initially I had concerns but after doing my own research I am not concerned at all.
“I think it will be a very beneficial proposal. Notwithstanding the temporary negatives, I still feel that this is the right way for us to use this low grade land and ensure that the community benefits from this energy.”
The panels would be expected to have a lifespan of about 25 years, after which they would be removed and the land could be returned to agriculture.
Pegasus says solar energy has a key role to play in the UK meeting its legally binding target of producing 15 per cent of the nation’s energy from renewable sources by 2020, a seven-fold increase in little more than a decade.
While the installation was being constructed, 15 staff would be on site and a total of about 90 deliveries of the panels would need to be made by lorries using Old Mead Road during the ten-week period.