Solar farm plans for Peterborough spark animal welfare and house price concerns
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Furious residents believe the proposed development off Buntings Lane would be hugely detrimental to local wildlife and to their own house prices.
Cambridgeshire County Council is seeking permission to build a 2.93 MW solar farm and battery energy storage system at an old landfill site that was formally closed in 1992.
The county council owns the land between the A1139 Fletton Parkway, Stanham Way and the A605 and has said the project would supply the National Grid and be of no cost to Peterborough City Council or its residents.
The proposals were first unveiled last year with a planning application recently submitted to the city council following a consultation with local residents.
However, many neighbours have now submitted their objections to the local authority.
One person wrote: “It is inconceivable this plan has even been proposed so close to a residential site,” while another stated: “This will replace the nice field view from my garden with ugly solar panels. This will decrease the value of my property.”
The majority of the concerns, though, centred on the effect of wildlife which use the land for grazing.
One objector wrote: “This field has been home for beautiful horses for 25 years and home for rabbits, foxes and other wildlife. Now you are planning to destroy this with solar panels and station on this beautiful landscape.
“Me and my family enjoy this landscape everyday and watching the horses. My son even bought binoculars to see them closer, now there will be nothing to look at, an eyesore full of solar panels.. Definitely object..”
Another person wrote: “I object on the grounds that we are destroying too much green land for wildlife.
“Since moving here, aside from bugs, birds and butterflies I’ve seen rabbits and little deer in those fields and seen the red kites flying over that land.
“In my garden I’ve seen squirrels, and I’ve had a grass snake. Nature needs an eco system that sustains, not destroys. Have we learned nothing in all this time?”
The only message of support has so far come from the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Campaign to Protect Rural England which said: “We think this is a much more suitable location than using productive farmland.”
A planning statement submitted to the city council as part of the application states that no “existing or proposed residential properties” have been designed to view the site from gardens or “principal windows”.
It added that it would mitigate adverse visual effects through measures which include planting new woodland and dense shrubs, as well as the erection of a fence.
On the subject of wildlife, the statement acknowledges that a Preliminary Ecological Assessment has shown that horses could lose the land for grazing.
But it claims that this can be mitigated through measures including the “adoption of a conservation grazing or mowing regime”.
Access to the site would be off the A605, while construction of the project would take approximately 24 weeks.
The application will now be considered and is almost certain to be decided upon by members of the council’s planning committee.