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Solar park plans welcomed


Plans to transform a piece of farmland into a solar panel park have been welcomed by Lenham Parish Council.

Farmer Andrew Barr wants to install rows of solar panels on his A&A Barr Farm in Lenham, in partnership with German-based energy company Kronos Solar.

Now the parish council has given its support to the solar farm, off Lenham Heath Road.

Mr Barr was delighted with the council's reaction and believes the project, if it goes ahead, will benefit the community.

Mr Barr's father, also Andrew, has served as a parish councillor for more than 25 years but was excluded from voting on the solar farm because of his family ties.

The plans include solar panels being donated by Kronos for the roof of Lenham Community Centre. The power generated would be sold to the national grid, generating an income.

Mr Barr said: "This income would go towards paying off loans taken out to build the community centre. That would hopefully mean a lower parish element in residents' council tax, therefore benefiting everyone."

Cllr Nigel Godfrey, chairman of the parish council, said: "The proposal has been heard by the parish council and there have been no objections.

"The solar park would benefit the farmer, help us reduce our carbon footprint and hopefully reduce our tax precept."

Mr Barr wants to reassure villagers his motive for the park is not his own financial gain.

He said: "At most we might be left with £16,000 after businesses overheads and the capital cost of the land has been deducted, which divided by four partners would give us maybe an extra £4,000 per year - a very welcome extra income but certainly not enough to make us millionaires."

Kronos Solar has submitted a draft proposal to Maidstone council to assess whether a full planning application would be suitable.

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