‘Solar Panel’ is made for green land in Heapey

Objectors: From left, Jane Evans, John McGinty and Milly McGinty
Objectors: From left, Jane Evans, John McGinty and Milly McGinty

Campaigners fighting plans for a £12m solar farm in Heapey have made their own “solar panel.”

They have used scaffolding pipes and black plastic to create a mock-up of a single panel.

It has been placed on land on Tithe Barn Lane, close to where the proposed solar farm would be located if the planning application gets the go ahead.

Campaign group, Chorley Residents Against Solar Heapey (CRASH), hope to show people in the area what a single solar panel looks like - and the impact that having many solar panels could have.

The “solar panal” was the brainchild of Heapey residents Ivor Farnworth and Myles Newhouse.

Myles, of Wogdens Farm on Tithe Barn Lane, said: “We are trying to show the public how big these panels will be.

“It’s a terrible shame that such a large piece of land will be destroyed.”

He is also trying to get a piece of fencing similar to that which would be used on the solar farm.

And signs have been erected at the site encouraging people to oppose the planning application.

Another opponent, Jane Evans, of Tithe Barn Lane, said: “It’s blocking the view and looks very unsightly.

“Obviously that’s the point of the exercise though. We want to show people what it’s going to look like.

“People are astounded – even people who have already objected to the solar farm are astounded by the size. They didn’t realise it was so big.”

Applicants, Cassidy And Ashton, want the proposed solar farm to be located on the site, which is mainly greenbelt land.

They say it could provide up to 8MW of energy, which is enough to power 2,500 homes each year.

But people living in the area are concerned about the impact it would have on the area.

More than 380 comments have been left on Chorley Council’s website, many opposed to the scheme.

They are supported by Chorley’s MP, Lindsay Hoyle, who has written to Natural England asking for the site to be designated an “area of outstanding natural beauty”.

The council’s development control committee is expected to make a decision on the planning application at its meeting in December.

Cassidy And Ashton said changes had been made to the plans and they hoped they will be approved.

Alban Cassidy, chartered town planner and environmental consultant, said: “We are pleased to state that we have continued our discussions with Chorley Council and statutory consultees.

“This has resulted in further amendments to the scheme to leave a buffer zone around the pond and clarification of the number and types of vehicles that will be used for the construction period, which are less than originally envisaged.

“Furthermore, we have increased our proposals in respect to planting with the addition of more mature trees earlier in the development process.

“We hope that these revisions and clarifications will assist the positive determination of this application.”