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Anger at Tolland solar farm proposals
IRATE residents have opposed plans to build a solar farm the size of more than 15 football pitches on countryside near Wiveliscombe.
AEE Renewables has applied to Taunton Deane Council to site more than 20,000 solar panels, covering almost 30 acres of prime farmland, in the valley between Tolland and Brompton Ralph.
More than 50 residents from the two villages came together to voice concern about the application at a heated meeting on Tuesday.
They say the panels will ruin unspoilt countryside, take valuable and productive farmland out of production and double the rainwater run-off, which would increase flood-risk.
“It is a travesty,” said David Crosher from Brompton Ralph. “This development is of a scale that will ruin this beautiful piece of countryside.”
The solar farm would be on a section of the West Deane Way surrounded by a two-metre high fence.
Cllr Nick Moore, of Brompton Ralph parish council, said: “We are all in favour of renewable energy but its benefits need to be balanced against the loss of farmland and the visual damage that can be caused by large-scale developments like this.”
Sarah Jones, who lives at Lumey Farm, fears the development would ‘open the floodgates’ and added: “No longer will we have green and pleasant land but shiny, blue unpleasant land.”
But Tom Sylger Jones, of AEE Renewables, says it plans to work with residents. “We’re holding a public exhibition and will listen to opinions to include in our proposals,” he said. “We are keen to work with people.”
Taunton Deane Council has set a target decision date of October.