A solar farm could soon be built a stone’s throw from a new housing development near the M5 in Somerset.

West of England Developments (Taunton) Ltd. is currently constructing 28 new homes on Derham Close in Creech St. Michael, just over the M5 from Somerset’s county town.

Solar South West UK Ltd., which is based near Crewkerne, has now applied to erect a new solar farm on part of the remaining land between the new homes and the motorway.

Somerset Council is expected to make a decision on the proposals later in the year.

The site lies immediately to the west of the new homes, sandwiched between the existing properties on Sweeting Close, the M5 and the Bridgwater and Taunton Canal.

The company intends to access the site from Hyde Lane, which is currently being used as the construction route for the new homes.

Anthony Carthy of James Carthy & Company Ltd. (representing the applicant) said: “The landowners are currently constructing dwellings under consent on land adjacent to the site to be known as Coronation Way.

“The land is forms part of a phosphate offset scheme and therefore has been
removed from agriculture.

“It is considered that a photovoltaic installation will not affect the phosphate offset, but will allow beneficial use of the land by the carbon saving that it will provide.

“It is proposed to complete the installation during the period that the houses are being constructed, and therefore use will be made of the temporary access that has been provided.”

The solar farm is expected to generate sufficient energy to power 390 local homes.

West Monkton Parish Council (which represents residents in the neighbouring parish) has recommended approval of the plans, but raised concerns regarding the visibility of the panels from the canal tow-path, which is popular with dog walkers.

Parish clerk Amy Shepherd: “The only concern that we have about the proposal is the height of the proposed panels and the visual impact for those walking along the canal path.

“We request that the panels are installed as low or as close to the ground as
possible to reduce this visual impact.”

Somerset Council is expected to make a decision on the plans by the summer.

It is not presently clear whether this decision will be made in public by its planning committee west (which handles major applications in the former Somerset West and Taunton area) or through the delegated powers of its planning officers.