Surrey solar farm set for planning decision

Plans to develop a 2.63MW solar farm next to a recycling plant in Reigate, Surrey, are to be deliberated by Reigate and Banstead Borough Council.

Developer Navistas Projects formally submitted plans last month to construct more than 9,000 solar panels on the site, which would be used to power local homes and businesses including the Britannia Crest Recycling Plant.

Navistas first made contact with the council late last year, informing them of its intent to submit planning documents and then held a public consultation during which the company invited local residents to view and discuss the plans.

The developer is also offering local residents consultations on free-to-let rooftop solar schemes, but it has not stopped the solar farm plans from attracting considerable criticism.

In written responses to the plans, Amanda Whiting said the farm would “alter the fundamental character of Crutchfield Lane from a semi-rural location to semi-industrial”, while John Hindle said the plans are “totally out of character to the local environment” and would pose a risk to wildlife and native plant species.

However a landscape and visual impact appraisal conducted by Wardell Armstrong found that the development would have a minimal-to-nil visual impact on the surrounding area owing to the developer’s intentions to plant hedgerows surrounding the site.

The council’s planning officer has yet to submit his report but a decision is expected in the coming weeks.