Plans for a large solar farm on the outskirts of Chester filed with CWaC


PLANS for a large solar farm straddling the England-Wales border near Chester have been submitted to Cheshire West and Chester Council.

The Bretton Hall Solar Farm project covers an area of ​​approximately 70 football pitches (50 hectares), crossing the border between Flintshire and Cheshire, on farmland at Bretton Hall Farm between Saltney and Bretton.

Due to land spanning two counties, applicants had to submit two separate applications.

On the Welsh side, due to the scale of the plans, the proposed development has been classed as a ‘development of national significance’, meaning a decision on whether or not to grant planning permission will be taken. by the Welsh Government.

Farm could become the site of a large solar farm spanning the England-Wales border. Artists impression. Source: planning document.”/>

Bretton Hall Farm could become the site of a large solar farm spanning the England-Wales border. Artist’s view. Source: planning document.

Planning consultants Mabbett, on behalf of applicants YnNi Newydd Cyfyngedig, said in a planning statement: “The proposed development (as a whole) includes a ground-mounted solar farm development of approximately 30MW and grid connection with supporting energy infrastructure including battery storage and associated site works including partial widening of an existing access, maintenance tracks, perimeter and stock fencing, CCTV cameras and supply a client cabin, an outdoor classroom and parking.

“The generating capacity of the proposed development located within the boundaries of the CWAC comprises approximately 14 MW.

“The proposed development would be temporary, with an operational phase of up to 40 years, after which the application site would be returned as close to its current state as possible.”

Construction of the development, if approved, would take about 18 months, according to a CWaC highways officer.

It is envisaged that, during the operational phase, the proposed development will be unmanned and monitored externally. There are also plans to graze sheep throughout the operation phase.

Although Flintshire Council will not make a final decision on the proposal, it has been asked for its advice as part of a pre-bid consultation.

Concerns have been raised about levels of flood risk at the siteas well as development on green belt lands.

Bretton Hall Farm could become the site of a large solar farm spanning the England-Wales border.

Bretton Hall Farm could become the site of a large solar farm spanning the England-Wales border.

The town planning official said: “The risk of flooding is significant in relation to this proposal, whether it is linked to the tests of the current TAN (note d’avis technique d’urbanisme) or the new TAN , which has yet to be implemented.

“It is also clear that the land is prone to regular flooding, which has been shown to diminish the quality of farmland and its ability to work for higher yields.

“The documents, however, have not demonstrated that the flooding will not negatively affect the ability of the proposed solar park to operate.

“It is a large solar farm within a green barrier, the main characteristics of which are openness.

“A solar farm of this scale would present an important new feature in this previously open expanse of farmland.”

Natural Resources Wales also raised concerns about the scheme in response to the pre-application consultation.

In a letter, the Welsh government-sponsored body said: ‘We have concerns about the application as proposed because insufficient information has been provided.

“To overcome these concerns, you should provide additional information in your planning application regarding flood risk and groundwater protection.

“If this information is not provided, we may object to the planning application when formally viewed by the planning authority.”

Consultants acting on behalf of the developers have previously said the proposals would see photovoltaic solar panels installed at a height of up to 4.6 metres.

Measures would also be taken to mitigate the risk of flooding by providing a clearance level of two meters above the ground.

The consultants said the program would generate a source of “clean, renewable energy” to mitigate climate change and provide an additional source of income for the landowner.

Comments on the application can be made to Cheshire West and Chester Council via the council’s planning portal site.

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