Solar farm near Whitchurch could get 10-year extension

A solar farm destined to be decommissioned in 2046 could be in place for a further decade, under plans expected to be approved by Shropshire Council next week.

Shropshire Council will consider the extension next week
Shropshire Council will consider the extension next week

The solar operation, south of Hadley Farm, near Whitchurch, has been in place since 2015, on land owned by Councillor Paul Wynn.

At the time, the council granted permission for the change of use of the land with the condition that the panels be removed after 30.5 years.

But the applicant, Lightsource SPV 74 Limited, now says the panels are expected to be capable of working for a longer period of time.

The council’s northern planning committee will meet next week to decide on the application.

As the landowner, committee chairman Councillor Wynn will take no part in the debate and will not get to vote.

A report to the committee by planning officer Kelvin Hall says Whitchurch Town Council has not made any comments, and there have been no public representations.

The report says: “The lifespan of the panels is expected to extend beyond the permitted 30-year period.

“The proposed extension of this operational life by 10 years would elongate the period of time that the solar farm remains within the landscape, and also extend the time before which the land would be returned to its previous use as open agricultural land.

“Nevertheless it is considered that these negative elements of the proposal are outweighed by the benefits of the proposal in terms of the continuation of the renewable energy production at the site and the retention of its biodiversity value.”

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