Boost in bid to build solar power farm in Hartlepool

A decision is set to be made on plans for a solar farm which could generate enough renewable energy to power “approximately 14,500 homes” a year.

Monday, 23rd August 2021, 4:45 am
Part of the site of the potential solar panel farm off Worset Lane, near Hart village. Picture by FRANK REID

Proposals are to go before Hartlepool Borough Council’s planning committee later this week for a solar farm on a 155 acre site off Worset Lane.

Submitted by CS UK Holdings III, the plans state the site would have an intended 40-year operational life span and would have a maximum capacity of 49.999 megawatts.

Councillors are due to make a decision on the proposals at a committee meeting on Wednesday, August 25, with a report from senior council planning officer Laura Alderson recommending the proposals are approved.

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She said: “The proposals would have considerable benefits in respect of being a form of development that would be able to generate substantial levels of electricity in a sustainable manner.

“While the development may be visible within the landscape to some extent, its impact is not considered to be significantly detrimental to landscape quality or enjoyment of the rural area.

“The benefits of the proposal are therefore considered to outweigh the concerns expressed in relation to impacts on landscape character.”

The proposals include a substation, a customer station building, inverter stations, battery storage and spare parts containers being constructed on the site.

A planning, design and access statement submitted in support of the application said the development would have substantial benefits for the area.

It said: “The proposals will generate c.49.999MW which will power approximately 14,500 homes annually during the operational lifespan.

“The benefits include making a substantial contribution to renewable energy generation levels, in turn making a valuable contribution to tackling climate change.”

The site is a group of agricultural fields in the open countryside situated immediately south of the A179 near to Hart village.

The development would also include tree and hedge planting and the provision of bird nest boxes and bat boxes.

The recommendation for approval comes despite concerns from some rural groups over the proposals.

A response from Elwick Parish Council said members “object to the industrialisation of this agricultural land” arguing it is very visible from nearby roads.

Meanwhile Dalton Piercy Parish Council, although it did not object to the plans, raised some concerns regarding “unsightly industrialisation of the rural landscape”.