Outrage as plans for farm lodged

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Plans for a solar park and a new agricultural building at a farm in Arlington have sparked outrage among residents.

A parish meeting is set to be held about the proposals for Wilbees Farm on March 21.

Large barn proposed at Wilbees Farm, Arlington.'Moreen Kerrell

Large barn proposed at Wilbees Farm, Arlington.'Moreen Kerrell

A planning application has been lodged on behalf of Simon Hughes to build an agricultural building and installation of 300 solar photo voltaic panels on its roof.

Initial proposals to create a solar park on 23 hectares of another part of the farm have also been investigated by Wealden District Council, which found the need for an environmental impact assessment to be held on the land.

It is believed that Mr Hughes owns both pieces of land, said a resident.

Edward Kerrell and his wife Maureen live next door to the proposed farm building.

The 82-year-old said: “If we can get the plans stopped, that’s what we want to do.

“We live next door and strongly object to it for several reasons. We have spent thousands refurbishing our house to keep it in-line with the village architecture and also the building will be huge and with 150 yards of our property.

“The previous owner farmed it with hundreds of cows and he didn’t need a huge building; we think eventually he will put a change of use and turn it into a commercial building.”

DHA Planning, the agent on behalf of Mr Hughes, was asked on two occasions to comment on the planning application. They had not replied at the time of going to press.

Arlington residents are also readying themselves to fight a solar park application they believe will be lodged.

Resident Suzanne Taylor said many people in the village did not know about the plans.

She said: “The thing is around here people don’t know what’s going on and I had no idea until I was stopped by a neighbour, and I expect all the residents in the village have no idea.

“Everybody we’ve spoken to has no idea this is happening; it’s all been going on behind our backs, so all these people we’ve rallied together are definitely ready to support the action to stop it going ahead.

“The whole thing about this is people need to know it is going on and it will impact the area.”

“It’s an area next to a designated national park and an area used by horse riders and walkers and would affect the natural beauty of the countryside that the residents and people who come to Arlington love. This is an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and this proposed park will be horrendous.”