Third Wix solar farm is given the go-ahead

Solar farm. Library image.

Solar farm. Library image. - Credit: Archant

Plans for a third solar farm in Wix have been given the green light by councillors.

Hive Energy applied to Tendring District Council (TDC) for the scheme at Green Farm in Oakley Road.

The company had made a similar application two years ago but since then had halved the size of the proposed development following feedback from local residents.

Panels at the farm will produce around 5MW of power, enough to supply 1,103 homes, from an 18 acre section of the 100 acre farm.

Councillors on TDC’s planning committee approved the plans at a meeting on Tuesday.

The application, which now has permission for 25 years, had been backed by Wix Parish Council which felt it was well away from the village and comments concerning the old plans had been taken on board.

Parish councillors also hope the development will secure the future of the farm, owned by Tim Munson who has lived in the village of all his life, by bringing in additional income.

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Concerns had been raised about the number of solar farms being approved in the Wix and Bradfield area.

Two sites have been given the green light, with one already operational, at Wix Lodge and Barn Farm, Bradfield, while a third at Burnt Ash Farm was refused but is being appealed.

In its application Hive Energy argued only people using Spinnels Lane or two footpaths would see successive solar parks, and that as planting grows this impact would be minimised.

Nigel Brown, TDC’s communications manager, said the committee had to balance a number of issues but in the end came down in favour of the development.

He said: “It was strongly backed by the parish council and involved considerably less land than the previous application.

“The fencing element has been improved and the committee has asked officers to ensure that sufficient landscaping is provided to screen the development from the A120.”

Hive Energy welcomed the decision and reaffirmed its commitment to make a community fund donation of £28,000 to benefit local causes.

Tim Purbrick, commercial director, said: “The beauty of solar is that the development will be completely reversible and after 25 years the land will be returned to agricultural use.

“The solar panels are protected by deer fencing and pile driven into the ground which means there is no need for concrete foundations.

“After the installation is complete new trees, grasses, wildflowers and hedgerows will be planted to improve the site’s biodiversity.”