LITTLEHAMPTON’S first solar park could be built on the northern outskirts of the town.
Plans have been drawn up 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.
They would be capable of generating enough energy for 1,060 homes, according to a statement submitted to Arun District Council with the planning application.
The farmland was chosen because it is close to overhead power lines and could easily connect to the national grid. It lies between the main south coast railway, to the south, and Black Ditch, to the north.
Compared with other sites, the statement adds, ‘the proposed location is away from sensitive views from residential development’. New trees and shrubs planted south of Black Ditch would obscure the panels from views from the west, north and east.
Renewables company Anesco Ltd, which has similar installations across the UK, submitted the proposals through its planning consultants Pegasus Group.
Previously used as a landfill tip, the site is rated as lower grade agricultural land. 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.
A wildflower meadow would be created in the spaces between the rows and a 2m high deer fence erected, with an infra-red security system.
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.
Pointing out the green credentials of the panels converting sunlight to electricity, Pegasus added: “Energy production from solar arrays emits no pollution, produces no greenhouse gases and uses no fossil fuel resources.”
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. Once the site was operational, there would be just two visits a month to inspect the installation.
A spokesman for Anesco said while there were no plans to improve Old Mead Road – which is unadopted – the company would be working with its traffic management consultants to ensure safe access to the site and that inconvenience to residents was kept to a minimum.
Arun and town councillors for the area have already been shown the plans. A final decision will be taken by Arun’s development control committee later this year.