Enormous solar farm the size of 100 football pitches planned for famous stately home site
A solar farm the size of 100 football pitches has been lined up for the site of a famous stately home on the outskirts of Wolverhampton.
Elgin Energy has unveiled plans for the carbon-saving facility, which will take over 66 hectares (163 acres) of the Chillington Estate near Brewood, home of the Grade I-listed Chillington Hall.
Documents detailing the scheme say it will feature 40 mega watts of solar panels and the same amount of battery storage on land at Port Lane, off the M54.
It will be used to generate electricity that will be exported into the grid over a proposed project lifeline of 40 years, after which time it will be decommissioned and dismantled.
Elgin Energy said the scale of the scheme has been reduced by 30 hectares following feedback from South Staffordshire District Council during the planning pre-application process.
It will feature southward-facing rows of solar panels, separated by a gap of between 2m and 6m.
The site will house inverters to convert the electricity, a primary substation, underground cabling and an access track. It will also include 30 battery storage containers, CCTV and parking, with the entire facility surrounded by a 2.4m high fence.
It is proposed that installation will take 12-24 weeks, with local contractors brought in to maintain the site once operational. Elgin Energy says a socio-economic report is being prepared, to show how the development "will benefit the estate and financially support it, assuring its continued operation/viability".
The Chillington Hall Estate has been home to the Giffard family for more than 800 years and has hosted events including Compton Care's memory walk and the Great British Food Festival.
The Georgian hall, which is open to the public during the summer, is surrounded by a park and lake landscaped by Capability Brown.
Elgin Energy, which is the biggest solar farm developer in the UK and has overseen more than 20 projects, is seeking the views of residents through a consultation before submitting a formal planning application by the end of August. Views are also being sought over a community benefit fund.
In a statement the firm said: "Engaging with our host communities will be vital to the success of this carbon-saving facility. We would like to hear your views on the proposal and how it might benefit not only the wider environment but its immediate surroundings."
To take part in the consultation visit chillingtonsolar.co.uk/. The closing date is May 30.