Villagers step up fight against solar farm plans

Sookholme smalholder Mark Burton on the site of the proposed solar farm
Sookholme smalholder Mark Burton on the site of the proposed solar farm

Protestors fighting plans for a solar farm have said around 60 objections have been raised in a bid to keep the development out of their village.

TW Solar made a presentation to Warsop Parish Council recently about the 40,000-panel farm they are looking to build on land off Sookholme Road, Sookholme.

Around 20 residents turned out for the talk, which was criticised by Mark Burton whose home backs on to the land in question.

He said: “We wanted to hear what they had to say, but it was a really poor presentation for what is a major development.

“It was almost based around farmers struggling in today’s climate and how they could offer a solution, which I think shows ignorance towards generations of farmers who have worked here.

“Sookholme isn’t a massive community and they thought they wouldn’t get much objection by putting it here, but everybody’s against it.

“All the councillors are behind us, and there’s about 60 objections gone in.”

The development would include an up to 10mw solar photovoltaic park with accompanying access track, transformer and inverter stations, two substations and CCTV cameras.

The application says the development would take place on three fields on grade-II agricultural land.

Construction would take from 3-4 months, complete with a two-to-three metre high security fence around the site.

The site is expected to be operational for 25 years, after which the land would be restored to its original state.

It would generate approximately 8,435,000kwh of electricity to power 2,350 average homes.

Coun John Kerr, who sits on Mansfield District Council’s planning committee and Warsop Parish Council, said: “It’s my duty to support my constituents, and that was what I was elected for.

“Unfortunately the residents live in a rural area and do not want to see it disturbed, it’s as simple as that, and I can understand that.

“If you are going to have a major installation like this, you have to converse with the people that live there, and this is a big development.

“The solar farm on the pit tip is only six megawatt, this is 10, so it’s a big one.”