Residents opposing plans for a massive solar farm near their homes say they fear the "sheer size" of the proposals that would be the size of their entire village.
The proposed development, to be known as Sheepwash Solar Farm, lies 900m west of Marden but falls within the parish of Collier Street.
It would cover 74.5 hectares – 184 acres – of farmland at Eckley Farm, just north of Little Cheveney Farm.
The developers, Starkraft, said the site would generate up to 49.9 megawatt of renewable energy that could be exported to the National Grid. That's roughly enough to power 12,500 homes.
It would involve arrays of solar panels no more than three metres high, but said that once mitigating landscaping had grown, after 10 years, the site would be virtually hidden.
The application includes additional infrastructure such as battery energy storage, a power substation and CCTV.
But the firm argues the land will not be altogether lost to agriculture as sheep could still graze between the panels.
The company is seeking temporary permission for a period of 37 years, after which the solar park would be dismantled and the land returned to agriculture.
Vickey Petrie, of Sheephurst Lane, Marden, one of the committee members of No To Marden Solar Farm, said: "This is good agricultural land that is being lost at a time when we are learning just how important it is to have food security.
"There has been very inadequate public consultation on these proposals – most people have learned about it only recently."
The campaign group has begun to redress that my dropping flyers door-to-door to encourage residents to oppose the application.
Starkraft said it had delivered leaflets to 588 nearby addresses as far back as July 2021 and held consultations with both Marden and Collier Street parish councils.
Marden Parish Council has not commented on the planning application.
Collier Street Parish Council has expressed concern about the loss of agricultural land and traffic, in particular how construction traffic would access the site, as nearby roads have a 7.5-tonne weight limit.
The parish points out there is a move for another large solar farm, known as Bockingfold Solar Farm, across 67 hectares – 166 acres – less than a mile away, but within the borough of Tunbridge Wells.
Collier Street has asked for the Sheepwash application to be called in for decision by the borough council's planning committee.
The No To Marden Solar Farm group said: "Our community is saying 'No'!
"The plan at 49.9 megawatts falls deliberately short of the 50 megawatt threshold for solar farms needing approval by the Secretary of State for Energy.
"We believe this proposal has been moved forward by stealth.
"Many people were not properly consulted in the pre-planning stages and some of those who were found they could not get a response from the company.
"There is a concern about the sheer size and scale of the proposal which mirrors the same size of Marden in its entirety!
"There is a grave concern about the loss of valuable and productive agricultural land which has been farmed since the 16th century, particularly when we face world food supply shortages and we look to grow more of our own."
The group added: "Equally there will be considerable impact on the local natural environment, with countless native species displaced or threatened. The cumulative effect will be enormous!"
Cotswold Archaeology has conducted a heritage survey of the site on behalf of the developers and concluded there would be very limited effects on heritage assets, although there are 33 Grade II listed buildings within 1km.
So far, the application, which can be viewed on Maidstone Borough Council's website by clicking here, has attracted 52 letters of objection.www.tinyurl.com/planningKM
To search for the application, use the code 22/501335.