Solar farm planned for Hartlepool: Cells could power up to 1,500 homes

Solar panels
Solar panels

A solar farm - with the potential to provide power for hundreds of homes - could be on the way near Hartlepool.

Councillors will scrutinise plans for thousands of panels on land north of Wolviston. Ten hectares of land would be used for solar panels with transformers, a substation, security fence and gate and other infrastructure.

The farm would be set up for 40 years before reverting back to agricultural use. The electricity generated could power up to 1,500 homes.

It would mean 18,768 panels being erected in rows which would stand around 7ft tall.

But the application, to be discussed at next Wednesday’s meeting of the council’s Planning Committee, has met with opposition.

A report to the meeting, prepared by the council’s senior planning officer Helen Heward, said: “To date, there have been nine objections received.”

They raise concerns about the effect on the character of the area, industrialisation of a rural area, loss of high yielding farmland, and access from the site being detrimental to traffic flow.

But council officials say they have met with the applicant and felt the overall landscape and visual issues “should not represent a significant impact” after the concerns were addressed.

Councillors are being asked to approve the development, subject to conditions which include a Biodiversity Management Plan.

The report to the meeting added: “Solar farm developments should be supported provided that they are appropriately sited, give proper weight to environmental issues such as landscape and visual impact, heritage and local amenity.”

It refers to the positive elements of the proposal which include the potential to generate a significant amount of electricity from a non-polluting renewable source; the potential to maintain and improve habitats and biodiversity; proposed hedgerow enhancement, tree and meadow grass planting and no significant detrimental impact on the character of the landscape.