The race is well and truly on for the development of the first large-scale solar power plant in the UK. With one project in the South West appearing to have taken an early lead, Corby Council today announces that it wants the top spot.

Corby Council Chief Executive Chris Mallender expects the council will receive a planning application from project developer BeLa within the next month for a 25-acre solar park at Priors Hall Park, a new housing development in the area. A spokesman for BeLa Partnership confirmed that discussions had taken place between BeLa director, Alfred Buller and Mallender about the scheme, and it was an option being considered.

Speaking at a One Corby policy committee meeting at the end of September, Mallender said, “BeLa Developments is actually discussing a scheme that would be a 25-acre solar park and would generate enough electricity to provide power for 2,000 homes on the Priors Hall Park estate.

“It's quite likely we will receive a planning application for that within the next month.”

Local newspaper, the Evening Telegraph has also uncovered that an international energy company is so keen to get the scheme off the ground it is already importing solar panels.

Daniel Polak, spokesman for BeLa, said, “We are looking at every possible option to make Priors Hall Park as sustainable for tomorrow's world and as carbon neutral as possible. Solar power is one of the options for doing that.”

However he also added that the company was not yet ready to submit an application.

Euclid Tapaldi of Gainsborough Road, Corby, said: “On the face of it I would think it is a good idea. Solar panels seem to be the in thing.

“It is time we all started thinking more about the environment.”

Yet not everyone is on board with the idea, as Elizabeth Hopewell of Rothwell Road, Kettering said, “I think it is going to be like the wind turbines and will be a waste of money and a blot on the landscape.”

Earlier this week Solon and 35 Degrees North revealed that their 1.3MWp project, planned for the Bissoe area of Cornwall, has just left the planning stages and now awaits approval.