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Solar farm powering up to 1,500 homes gets approval from district planners

By Victoria Chessum

A solar farm that could power up to 1,500 homes was given the go-ahead by district planners last week.

It will be built on low-quality land north of Marshborough, next to the Sandwich bypass.

Equipment and fencing will be hidden by hedgerows and will not be visible from the road. Speaking before the meeting, James Stone, of Vogt Solar, said: “This site offers a good location for a solar farm.

Map of the solar farm between Sandwich and Marshborough

“It’s already well screened by hedgerows, which we’ll reinforce with extra planting. It is also further from the nearest homes and footpaths than the previous site was.”

There were no formal objections, unlike the previous application in 2013 which generated 80 letters.

It will remain open so that cattle can still graze on the meadow seasonally and there will be a dedicated site ranger to maintain the area.

A former site meeting

A previous application was for the land to be used next to it, which was far wider and of better quality.

It was also closer to the road.

Developers said that it will be sown with a grass and wildflower mix to create a meadow that attracts insects and birds to the site.

Cllr James Back said: “This is a much better application than what was put before us last time.

'This is a much better application than what was put before us last time.' - Cllr James Back

“I would rather have a solar farm than a wind farm any day.”

Cllr Bernard Butcher, who sits on the committee and represents Sandwich said: “Speaking to parish councillors past and present they are of the opinion that this is acceptable.

“It is better than the previous application, you won’t be able to see it from other gardens.”

He then recommended the application for approval which was seconded by Cllr Ben Glayzer and passed with a unanimous vote.

The solar farm would take between eight to 12 weeks to build, with access to the site from an existing track off the A257 to the north, close to the roundabout with the A256.

After 25 years the fields will be returned to existing use and the solar panels removed and recycled.

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