PLANS for a 55 acre solar park in Croft have won the parish council’s cautious support, provided public fears about its visibility are mitigated against.
Croft Parish Council held an extraordinary meeting last Monday to discuss Juwi Renewable Energy’s application to install 42,000 solar panels on farmland in the village.
Following discussions with Juwi’s project development manager Alex Fornal and input from residents, the council voted to support it by a majority, pending certain conditions.
Parish chairman Coun Eric Peacock said: “The concerns from the majority of people present were about the industrialisation of Croft.
“We deemed the site to be in quite open countryside and so the screening needs to be more robust due to the large scale nature of the development.
“We seem to be getting our fair share of planning applications at the moment, so if we are going to have to put up with these things we would also like the company to make a contribution to the community.”
Various contributions were discussed including a one-off financial payment, yearly contributions based on a share of the energy generated and free solar panels to power community buildings in the village.
Coun Peacock said the council’s preference was for a one-off payment, which could fund projects in the village such as improvements to the play areas.
Mr Fornal was encouraged by the public response and said he shared many of the public concerns.
He said: “Our planning application had already included provision for screening along High Lane and a constructive discussion about this took place at the meeting, with helpful suggestions which we will act upon. We will shortly be holding discussions with East Lindsey District Council about screening and community benefit to ensure that the project is a good neighbour and will genuinely benefit the local area. I think there is an exciting opportunity to successfully integrate solar PV parks in the UK landscape with minimal local impacts while maximising the local benefits.”