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Shropshire solar farm plan attracts fresh criticism despite attempt to head-off objections

South Shropshire | News | Published:

Fresh criticism has been made of plans to build a massive solar farm on the outskirts of Ludlow – despite an attempt by developers to head-off objections.

The proposed 22,000-panel solar farm on 33 acres of land at nearby Henley Hall Estate would be visible "from everywhere" according to Counillor Vivienne Parry, Shropshire councillor for Ludlow South.

It comes despite Kronos Solar, the German firm behind the plan, writing to Councillor Parry and her fellow councillors Richard Huffer and Andy Boddington – who also represent areas of the town on Shropshire Council – before submitting the new plans to planning officers at Shirehall last week.

In the letter Dr Alexander Arcache said he was "well aware" of the controversy over solar farms in the area in recent months, and listed similar schemes that had been turned down, while insisting the 5MW Henley Hall development would "not cause any such harm that has led to refusal of previous schemes".

He said the impact on the landscape would be "very limited" as "the site is naturally shielded from view by trees and hedgerows in nearly all directions".

But following a site visit with the other Ludlow councillors, Councillor Parry said she was not convinced, as there was a clear line of site to both the surrounding hills and the outskirts of Ludlow itself.

"It will stand out like a sore thumb," she said. "We stood there in the middle of the field and walked all around. It will be visible from Sheet Village and the Rocks Green estate. You'll be able to see it distinctly from the eco park. Clee Hill will be able to see it, and the lovely rolling hills around Ludlow, and Caynham Camp hill fort."

She said she would be leafleting local residents about the plans.

Peter van Duijvenvoorde, chairman of the Save South Shropshire Hills campaign group, has also said he was "horrified" at the plans.

The firm says the scheme would have "no impact" on the Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and would not even be visible from it due to the lie of the land. Kronos Solar already operates 25 solar parks in the UK.

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