A BARNHAM solar farm approved on Wednesday could generate enough electricity to power 350 homes a year for the next three decades (February 24).
Arun District Council’s development control committee approved plans for the one megawatt facility at Barnham Court farm.
Despite concerns over construction traffic, councillors felt the low-lying site was ideal for the eco-friendly scheme.
“There are environmental benefits,” said Independent councillor Jim Brooks.
“We do need to support solar energy where it is appropriate. This seems a good site for this in a dip.
“I would much rather see a solar farm there than polytunnels or residential development.”
The BNRG Renewables plans attracted objection from Barnham Parish Council and 16 letters of objection.
The parish argued a transport plan for construction traffic and long-term running of the site was ‘inadequate’, with the proposed routing along part of a public footpath.
“The council also doesn’t believe that a solar farm is the right long-term use for this land,” a report to the committee added.
Barnham councillor Keith Ballard also could not support the project.
He said: “Apart from it being in the wrong place for, I believe, access, I am getting concerned by the amount of solar panel farms we have got in this area. If we get any more we wouldn’t have any farm fields. I can’t support this application.”
Agent for BNRG, Gulya Isyanova, said the site was ‘well-screened’ and the land was of low agricultural value.
She said she was aware of the parish’s concerns but noted they were primarily related to the construction period.
The majority of the committee, who attended a site visit, agreed the land was suitable.
Cabinet member for planning and infrastructure Ricky Bower said: “This is a useful use of this particular site which I agree with the speaker, can probably not be used for any other meaningful agricultural purpose.”
Councillor Paul Wells was assured by council officers the site would not be designated as brownfield land once the farm was constructed.
The farm will take three to four months to build, with a lifespan of up to 30 years once in place.