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Iwade site in School Lane earmarked for solar farm

By Andy Gray

Land in Iwade has been earmarked for a solar farm.

Plans for the green energy installation in School Lane will go on public display next Thursday.

GH Dean, which owns Orchard Farm, is looking to pitch enough panels to produce 15MW of electricity, enough to power 4,500 homes at the rural site.

Iwade Parish Council chairman, James Hunt.

The company’s chief executive, Oliver Doubleday, said: “The proposed site is poor quality agricultural land and difficult to farm due to previous mineral extraction.

“This solar project would bring a number of environmental benefits, including extensive wildflower planting to create a habitat-rich environment, encouraging bees and other pollinators as well as small mammals.

“It would also allow the soil time to rest and improve in quality before returning to agricultural use in 25 to 30 years’ time.”

The proposal is the third solar farm consultation currently taking place in the area.

In March, plans were announced for a 10MW plant - enough to power nearly 3,000 homes - for land in Stickfast Lane in neighbouring Bobbing.

In the same village at the junction of Coldharbour Lane and Rook Lane, a 13MW farm has been proposed.

Iwade village sign

The site crosses the boundary of Bobbing and Newington and if it gets the go ahead,could power 3,700 homes.

Iwade Parish Council chairman, James Hunt, said villagers appear ambivalent towards the mooted Orchard Farm development.

He said: “The general consensus from villagers I’ve spoken to is this latest plan is not too much of a problem.

“The only concern they’ve raised so far is the possible impact it might have on the countryside.

“The landowners say it will be built on ‘low-quality land’ but we’d like to see proof of that.”

He added: “This site is far enough out of the main centre of the village to cause any real issues, but there’s a couple of houses that might be affected.

“The parish council needs to take on board their views and glean more information from the public consultation.”

The consultation takes place from 2pm to 8pm, at All Saints Church in The Street, Iwade.

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