Solar park is proposed for land near Hailsham

Solar panels at another farm
Solar panels at another farm

A solar park could be built near Hailsham if a planning application is approved by Wealden District Council.

The solar park proposed for land at Natwood Farm, Polegate Road, would generate 8.8megawatts of electricity.

It is the third solar panel farm proposed for the South Wealden area with one proposed for Ripe and another agreed for Berwick.

It would cover 16.5 hectares of land (41 acres) and developer Haymaker Energy said consideration had been taken to minimise any detriment to the landscape and wider visual amenity.

Transformers would also be constructed in small buildings on the site which would collect the power generated before it is transferred to the national grid.

The site would be built on agricultural land that is used for hay production for the farm’s animals.

The planning application states: “The proposed development would be a significant net producer of renewable energy and would be designed in such a way as to help comply with the relevant policies relating to landscape character. The existing landscape framework of the site is to be respected and retained, ensuring that the proposals are successfully integrated into the site. The proposal is considered to be consistent with the form, scale and pattern of the existing landscape.”

The developer said there are limited views into the fields due to the heavy vegetation screening provided by the woodland on three sides of the site and so the panels would be obscured. There are no known heritage constraints within the site that would preclude development, the planning application said. The development would take around five months to construct.

The planning application said: “The site is capable of continued agricultural use once the panels are in place and will be able to be mown or have sheep graze the land on a periodic basis. In the short term, the intensity of the site’s agricultural use will be reduced whilst it is used as a solar park, but if required the site can be swiftly returned to full agricultural production.”

Comments close on March 14. To view the application visit the council’s website and search WD/2014/0153/MAJ.