Please see details of the proposed Solar Farm development close to Chiddingly.
In January 2021, ScottishPower Renewables (SPR) contacted the you with regards to the Pollards Solar Development (the Proposed Development) located within Wealden District Council (WDC). Since this date, SPR have undertaken extensive survey works and assessments to ensure potential significant effects are eliminated and / or mitigated where possible. Over the last few months, SPR have followed an iterative design process with the aim of developing a panel design which optimises the balance between site performance and environmental effects. The attached notice therefore provides updates to our initial communications, details of our upcoming Public Information Event and how you can further engage with the project team.
The Proposed Development would be located approximately 800 metres (m) west of the village of The Dicker, 1.6 kilometres (km) east of the village of Chalvington, 2.2 km south of Golden Cross, and 3.7 km west of Hailsham, East Sussex (the Site). An iterative design process has been undertaken and has resulted in changes to the layout since the initial concept design. The finalised design can be seen below.
SPR have considered the following areas which have informed the finalised layout: appropriate buffers to all hedgerows, woodlands, watercourses and waterbodies; incorporation with appropriate buffers of Public Rights of Way; location of Flood Risk Zone 3 (active floodplain); location of existing residential properties; location of heritage assets; existing traffic flows and movements during construction; and visual effects both from adjacent receptors and wider vistas (incl. South Downs National Park).
The Site has refined through engagement and technical assessments. The site size is 81.49 hectares (ha) of land with almost 15% of this being dedicated to three habitat enhancement areas. These habitat enhancement areas comprise areas of rough grassland with wildflowers, scrub and woodland and will improve biodiversity of current agricultural fields, minimise landscape and visual impacts on receptors, improve flooding on site and enhance the setting of core paths, which will be retained on Site. Access will be from the A27 Lewes Road to the south and will utilise a shared access route adjacent to Batbrooks Farm House and Cuckmere Solar Farm.
Progress to Date
SPR submitted a Screening Report in January 2021 to identify which aspects and potential effects of the Proposed Development should be covered within the planning submission. WDC issued their Screening Opinion in February to confirm the Proposed Development required an Environmental Statement (ES) alongside the submission, in order to fully assess potential effects on the environment. Following this, SPR submitted a Scoping Report in March to WDC, to determine which environmental aspects should be ‘scoped into’ the ES. WDC issued a Scoping Opinion on the 18th May 2021 and agreed with the broad contents of the ES however requested some additional information be included such as an assessment of air and dust pollution along with noise and vibration during the construction/decommissioning phase impacts and the assessment of landscape and visual impacts from other, more distant receptors.
SPR are looking to submit a formal planning application at the end June. Prior to submission, SPR are undertaking a virtual Public Information Event to ensure key consultees, and the local community, are aware of all aspects of the proposal.
Public Information Event
SPR are unable to plan a public face-to-face consultation event, with any degree of certainty, due to the current COVID-19 situation. SPR have therefore created a Public Information Event to provide an update on environmental surveys and technical work undertaken to date, which have informed the finalised scheme design. The Public Information Event can be accessed through a project specific tab via our Solar Webpage, which will be available from 12:00 on Monday 7th June to 17:00 on Friday 18th June. During this period, the following information will be made available on the website to view and download:
an introduction to the proposed development, including; information on the work undertaken to date, the iterative design process and the planning and environmental impact assessment process; a map showing the areas where the proposed scheme may potentially be visible from (known as the Zone of Theoretical Visibility, or ZTV); a summary of the surveys and studies completed for each technical topic and an outline of the scope of the assessment for each; an explanation of the benefits of the proposed development; a section with answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs); and an online feedback form to allow you to submit queries or comments regarding the proposed development.
Following the 18th June, the website will remain live and will be updated regularly for the lifetime of the project.
We welcome any comments, questions or feedback on the Proposed Development at this time. However, should you wish to discuss the scheme in more detail or have any queries please do get in touch with us at PollardsSolar@scottishpower.com