Proposed Udimore solar panels opposed by residents

Court Lodge Farm, Udimore.
Court Lodge Farm, Udimore.

A proposed solar panel installation in a field in Udimore is being opposed by some residents.

Keith Dean applied for the installation at his home, Court Lodge Farm on Church Lane in April but his application has received five objections.

Some are concerned with the proximity of the panels to their homes and others worry about the site being on an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

Sarah Hickman, of Church Lane, said in her objection: “Solar panels are large, tall and very ugly.

“This will destroy a vital piece of our local agricultural land and I think it’s pointless to destroy this lovely field right in the heart of the village when Mr Dean has a lot more sensitive places he could put them out of site .”

She was concerned about many aspects of the application including access, the effect on house prices and the impact on the AONB.

“I am so disappointed that this application has been made not just for myself but for our beautiful village and its countryside and I fear for the future as I think if this is granted then this opens up the flood gates for more of the same,” she wrote.

“Once this land is turned from agriculture to solar farm there is no going back.”

The parish councillor said the solar panels will be beneficial to the village as they will provide energy for the community.

“Part of the local development plan is to install as much renewable energy as possible,” he said.

“We’re just trying to provide renewable energy – on a good day they provide electricity for nearly 12 houses.

“We’re trying to do our bit for the environment and to generate a bit of income on the farm.”

Mr Dean said it was impossible for the installation to be extended as the output is limited to 107kw which is the most the power grid can handle.

This was a concern for many people opposed to the solar panels including Mr B Tallett, of Udimore Road, who was worried about future development.

“Although we realise that speculation on future development may not be pertinent to this application, we feel that it should be pointed out that many other sites of this nature have to install security fencing and lighting due to the theft of solar panels,” he wrote in his objection.

“This may lead to the erection of more intrusive fencing which may or may not require planning permission.”

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