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Campaign against solar farm for Goshall Valley, in Ash near Sandwich

Residents opposing plans for a massive solar farm near their homes say they fear it will damage historic heritage.

The proposed development, to be known as Little South Solar Farm, lies to the north of the A257 between Ash and Sandwich.

The proposed site for the solar farm
The proposed site for the solar farm

Campaign group Save Ash Level Residents Group has been formed to oppose the plans – the size of 102 football pitches.

They are concerned the project will result in the loss of agricultural land and impact wildlife.

The group also raises the potential the proposal has to endanger the area's cultural and historic heritage, in particular the nearby Richborough Roman Fort.

Chairman of Save Ash Level Residents Group, Graham Doyle met with South Thanet MP, Craig Mackinlay to discuss their concerns.

Mr Mackinlay said: “Whilst I have my doubts about the viability or desirability of solar farms generally, the location for this 180-acre monstrosity is wholly wrong given wildlife and archaeological impact in an area of outstanding beauty.

MP Craig Mackinlay opposes the solar farm
MP Craig Mackinlay opposes the solar farm

“The destruction of visual amenity will be permanent and there would be no benefit to local residents who would be severely affected.

“I hope that Dover District Council, as the statutory planning authority give this application short shrift.”

The scheme at Goshall Valley, East Street, Ash is proposed to be in place for up to 40 years.

An overground frame for solar panels would be 2.7m by 2.5m.

Developers say the site would not create "significant effects" to the area, such as impacting on noise or pollution and say it would "contribute to reducing climate change impacts".

A map graphic showing the planned solar farm bordered in red. Image: Google
A map graphic showing the planned solar farm bordered in red. Image: Google

The 49 megawatt solar farm, less than a mile from Sandwich, is being proposed by Statkraft UK Ltd, a London-based company generating renewable energy through wind, water and sun.

A report to Dover District Council by consultants Stantac said: "The proposed development is not considered likely to result in significant effects in terms of noise impacts, air quality emissions, or access to open space/recreation facilities.

"The proposed solar farm will contribute to reducing climate change impacts through the generation of renewable electricity."

It added the scale and mass of the development will not cause changes to daylight or sunlight availability or cause overshadowing to nearby homes.

It also says the development would involve limited traffic movements during construction and very low during the life of the solar farm.

Kent Wildlife Trust has already confirmed it is against the scheme as it is within Ash Level and a second wildlife site, South Richborough Pasture.

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