Solar panels near Cheritons/ Holton

The Blog's helicopter captured this view of the proposed Solar Park. The A 303 runs across the picture, with Wincanton in the background. The A357 is away beyond the left of the picture. (Click to see full size)

A 5MW “solar park” has been proposed at Higher Hatherleigh Farm, Grove Lane, about 1 km (0.62 of a mile) south of Wincanton alongside the old S&D railway line adjoining the Wincanton sewage farm .

The solar panels will be in some 33 rows about 3 metres off ground – virtually invisible from any road, but very visible from vantage points like Cucklington or the Monarch’s Way.

The 29 acre installation will generate enough energy to power around 1450 two-bedroom homes. The proposal is for the scheme to last for 25 years, during which time animals like sheep can graze between the panels, thereby preserving an element of agricultural use.

According to the solar power feed in tariff calculator on the Parker Energy website, such a system will cost in the region of £394, 000 and pay back its investment in under 13 years. The total profit over 25 years (when the current scheme ends) will be in the region of £591,000, a return of 6%.

Hatherleigh Farm lies in neighboring Holton Parish. There have been a number of objections, including from the Holton Heritage Trust, which states that the proposal will cause huge damage to the highly valued landscape of the Blackmore Vale. Although the Trust has previously supported planning applications for rooftop panels, it is strongly opposed to panel generation parks in open countryside.

They point out that the proposal goes against the Holton Plan, which has been approved by the council.

Blog comment: The Council is in a difficult position. Solar energy is a good thing, and preferred to 400 ft wind turbines. But if they permit this one, than every landowner in the area will think it worth having a go. With reluctance, we say no, simply because we would not like to see a precedent created- Ed

2 thoughts on “Solar panels near Cheritons/ Holton”

  1. Its the same old story, we all want clean renewable energy, but ‘not in my back yard’.
    It has to happen one day, the goverment have to faze out nuclear energy by 2023, so we have to plan now to ensure a future for this country! The site runs along side a sewage works, it has to happen some when, and it will happen, surely there can be no better place.

  2. What is so wrong with UK solar developers, employing UK workers, for the benefit of not only our economy, but leading to a sustainable future not reliant upon foreign input?
    I suggest we think about the other (worse!) options that our land could be used for…
    Why not make suggestions of suitable sites… But would you suggest a neighbour’s site whereby that owner receives upto £1500 per annum per acre.. for doing nothing??
    Or would you like some of the pie…

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