Residents divided as plan for 174-acre solar farm on estate of MP Richard Drax is submitted (From Bournemouth Echo)
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Residents divided as plan for 174-acre solar farm on estate of MP Richard Drax is submitted
PLANS for an enormous solar farm on the estate of a wealthy Dorset MP have been submitted.
If permitted, the solar farm, which would cover 174 acres of Mapperton Farm near Almer – the size of 110 football pitches – would be the biggest on the south coast, and could be seen from the Isle of Purbeck and Badbury Rings.
The land is part of the Charborough Estate, owned by the wealthy Drax family.
Residents are fiercely divided over the proposals and many locals have started to comment on the planning application online.
Nigel Pugh of Winterborne Zelston said: “I am concerned, that should this planning application be successful, it could create a precedent for a further expansion of solar farms and/or industrialisation within this area which would further blight the landscape.”
Rosalie Watkins of Gillingham has also objected, writing: “I find it difficult to believe that anyone can consider desecrating our beautiful countryside on such a huge scale.”
However, Beryl Smith, who is the chair of the Sturminster Marshall Memorial Hall, wished the project ‘good luck’, adding: “I have seen these solar farms in other countries that work to great effect.”
MP Richard Drax said in a statement: “Following a detailed and thorough assessment of the area, an application for planning consent for the proposal has been submitted.
“The local authority will now consider the suitability of the site for such use from a planning perspective.
“The opinion of the local community was sought prior to submitting the application and will continue to be incorporated. The site is well screened and the land will be planted to a wildflower rich grass sward.
“The local area will benefit from a community fund to be established. At the end of the project the land will return to the existing agricultural use.”
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