We wanted country views not this say Wootton residents

The site on Whiterails Road and inset, the plans for the renewable energy park. Pictures by Google Maps and, inset, Natural Power. (Image: Google Maps) <i>(Image: Google Maps)</i>
The site on Whiterails Road and inset, the plans for the renewable energy park. Pictures by Google Maps and, inset, Natural Power. (Image: Google Maps) (Image: Google Maps)

A NEIGHBOUR who cut down trees to enjoy a better view of Wootton's countryside could now be overlooking a solar farm.

Plans to create the Sunny Oaks Renewable Energy Park, on land owned by Briddlesford Lodge Farm, next to Whiterails Roads, have been met with mixed reactions.

If approved, the solar farm and battery energy storage could power 5,150 homes a year and retain the excess created, for the next 40 years.

Support has been given to the project from Islanders saying it would boost renewable energy production and would be built on poor-quality farmland which would most likely be targeted instead for housing.

While the Environment Agency had first objected to the plans, a flood risk assessment had been submitted by the applicant, dispelling its concerns.

Isle of Wight County Press:
Isle of Wight County Press:

However, one neighbour said they moved to Wootton for the peace and quiet and cut down conifer trees at the front of their property to enjoy the view over the fields —  now proposed to be filled with solar panels.

Instead, the energy farm would spoil their views of the local wildlife.

Other issues raised by neighbours include the proposed CCTV cameras, no consideration of glint and glares from the panels into their first-floor rooms and highway concerns with construction traffic pulling out onto busy roads.

Wootton Bridge Parish Council said it supported renewable energy but had concerns and was surprised the IW Council had not requested an environmental impact assessment even though it could be the biggest solar farm on the Island.

Campaign group, Wootton Against Solar Panels, submitted a 143-page objection and raised points including the site being prone to waterlogging, which could lead to significant flooding.

It contends the development would not protect or enhance the valued landscape or heritage assets.

They said the area would be industrialised with another solar farm and cause degradation of the views in the area.

Isle of Wight County Press:
Isle of Wight County Press:

A letter from the applicant, Ridge Clean Energy, has also now been submitted to the IW Council, which attempts to address the concerns.

It says the development is robust in its design and comprehensive in the benefits it would deliver.

Comments on the application have now closed but the Isle of Wight Council is yet to determine the application.