Solar farm for land near Ripe is given the green light by council

Stock image of solar panels.
Stock image of solar panels.

Plans for a solar farm which could see around 28,000 panels built on land between Laughton and Ripe have been granted permission by Wealden District Council.

Renewable energy company Wessex Solar Energy will contruct and operate a six megawatt solar park on 20.2 hectares of land near Kitty Hawk Farm on Darp Lane.

The site is 1.2km to the west of Ripe and 2.5km to the south of Laughton.

Wealden District Council agreed the plan, which is subject to conditions, on March 6.

The planning application says the solar panels will stand no more than three metres high and a visual impact assessment found the project will be visible over a small area, but have no ‘unacceptable impact’ on views from outstanding natural beauty.

The farm is the second agreed in a range of about five miles after the council gave the green light to company Susenco’s plans for a 27 hectare solar farm at Wick Street near Berwick. Another application has gone in for a solar park near Hailsham on Polegate Road.

The solar park proposed for Ripe would have a lifetime of 25 years and provide power to around 1,500 households.

The conditions state construction work should only take place between 8am and 6pm on Monday to Saturday and no work should happen on Sundays or bank holidays. Delivery to the site can only take place between 9am and 4pm Monday to Friday and 8am to 4pm on Saturday. The security fencing around the development will be painted matt green to blend into the environment. The application proposes the construction of transformer cabins and a control building. But these will not be built until details of the design have been submitted and approved by the local authority. No name, sign or symbol is allowed on the external services of any solar panel and no floodlighting or security lighting is permitted.

The planning application says communities which host projects can keep additional business rates the project generates and could benefit from £25,000 to £30,000 per year.

In the planning application, the company states: “Wessex Solar Energy has throughout the development of the proposed solar park sought to minimise the impact of the project especially with regard to visual impacts. This has been achieved by listening to the concerns of interested parties.”

See the decision at and search: WD/2013/2264.