Houghton Parish Council’s response to the Eveley Solar Farm Proposal

29th July 2013

Makan Yarandi
Kronos Solar Projects GmbH
Petersplatz 10
80331 Muchen
Germany

Dear Makan

EVELEY SOLAR FARM PROPOSAL

Houghton Parish Council has been considering the above proposal at length and would like to make the following comments:

Visual Impact

The ‘Zone of Visual Influence Map’ drawn up by Kronos is incorrect and needs readdressing. It currently does not take into consideration the contours of the land and local high viewpoints such as that from the Beeches/Hildon Road.

The proposed site borders a very popular and frequently used public footpath and historically important ancient drove. We feel strongly that the visual impact at this point, as we understand it currently to be proposed, is unnecessarily industrial and inappropriate to the location. This aspect of the integration of the scheme into the landscape should be addressed in detail and all reasonable measures to lessen the visual intrusion into the landscape should be taken.

Having consulted the landowner, we believe that the visual impact can be lessened with some careful and considered re-citing of the panels within the existing proposed boundaries. As set out below, we also have concerns that the boundary screening currently proposed needs reconsideration.

Screening

With regard to the visual impact from the public footpath to the north west of the site, we would like to see mature hedging and trees planted along the boundary and along the drove. We are extremely concerned by the proposal to use high welded wire industrial style fencing. It is totally inappropriate in a rural setting. The fencing will be particularly visible from the public footpath. We strongly suggest that traditional deer fencing is used up to 2m high. This is the chosen security measure for similar sites locally and is far more readily accepted.

So as to significantly reduce the visual impact from the Beeches/Hildon Road, we consider it appropriate that the area to the west of the site is split up by hedging, thus screening and dividing the visual impact of the panels. We would like this to be further investigated taking into consideration the contours of the land.

Land and biodiversity management

We haven’t been given sight of a Land Management plan or Biodiversity Management Plan as yet. We consider that a well thought-out, sustainable Land/Biodiversity Management plan that maximises indigenous flora and fauna to be essential. This is of vital importance, both due to the rural nature of the site and the opportunities that the proposed use of it presents to address the impacts of the agriculture that otherwise dominates land use in the vicinity of the proposed development.

We want local wildflower and grass mixes to be used, in order to aid ground nesting birds. We would like to see bat and bird boxes erected in surrounding trees. We also suggest that beekeepers be invited to keep their hives on the site. As bees are under threat in this country we see this as an ideal opportunity to increase bee numbers.

Returning to the matter of the site security fence already mentioned above, we would like to see fencing that has gaps at ground level that afford easy access to small mammals (e.g. rodents, stoats, weasels, rabbits, hares) so that the widest possible benefit from the diverse nature of the otherwise relatively undisturbed site may be used to the greatest advantage for biodiversity.

We insist that there is no spraying on the main area of the site of chemical pesticides or weed killers for the duration of the lease, 25 years.

Access to the site

We have concerns over the access to the site during construction and the damage it could cause to established hedgerows. We are also concerned that the access will be on a dangerous bend in the Broughton to A30 road. We would like to see your detailed proposals that explain how these risks are to be assessed and controlled.

Financial contribution to Houghton Parish Council

We have considered Kronos’s proposed financial contribution and have decided that we need further discussions with Kronos so as to understand its purpose and ensure that we may derive maximum advantage from it.

With kind regards

Philip Page
Chairman Houghton Parish Council

c.c.
Test Valley Borough Council
Peter Boulton – Borough Councillor, Test Valley Borough Council
Daniel Busk – Borough Councillor, Test Valley Borough Council and Eveley Farm Landowner
Tim Jenner – Chairman, Broughton Parish Council