Project Details

Plot Size: 155+ acres / 63+ hectares
Land Owner: Cheney Family
Developer: Lighthouse Planning Consultants
Project Name: Wood Lodge Solar PV Farm
Planning Application: Yes
Reference: NE/23/00858/FUL

Wood Lodge Farm

Wood Lodge Farm is owned by a local farmer and is all arable farm land never previously developed. It is situated off The Leys between Titchmarsh and the A14.

Planning Application

NE/23/00858/FUL | Installation of a solar farm comprising ground mounted solar PV panels with a generating capacity of up to 49.99MW, including mounting system, battery storage units, inverters, underground cabling, stock proof fence, CCTV, internal tracks and associated infrastructure, landscaping, biodiversity net gain and environmental enhancements for a temporary period of 50 years. | Land South Of Wood Lodge Farm Huntingdon Road Thrapston.

The site is shown in blue on the Google map below:

Under current legislation, Solar Farms producing 50MW and above are defined as Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects and go through a more rigorous and lengthy approval process. It is therefore common practise within the industry to keep the initial size of the project below 50MW. The Foxholes Farm project is 49.9MW. Once established, however, the farm can be expanded without the rigorous approval process. The plan above shows areas where the developers have already identified additional farmland for expanding the project.

Objections

STAUNCH are in principle in favour of renewable energy. However, we believe that all such schemes should be considered on the basis that they appropriate and proportionate for the environments in which they are intended to be sited.

STAUNCH is supporting local farmers in objecting to the installation of a solar photovoltaic (PV) development at Wood Lodge Farm because this would take prime agricultural land out of production forever, despite what the developers claim.

As part of our campaign, STAUNCH have submitted a comprehensive objection to the Solar Farm planning application. This has taken many hours of diligent research and fact finding.

Click here to read the Solar Farm Objection >>

It contains these main areas for concern:

  • This Solar Farm application goes against Government Planning Laws including the NPPF
  • This Solar Farm goes against North Northants’s Local Plan
  • Farmland is a totally inappropriate site for solar panels
  • 28ha of BMVL lost forever with more proposed
  • Legally required Shadow Habitats Regulations Assessment protecting nearby RAMSAR site and its Functionally Linked Land not submitted
  • North Northants Council are obliged to request a dormouse survey from the developers on ANY proposed development site
  • No Dormouse Survey has been submitted, neither has any Mitigation been proposed, which should be done in advance
  • Biodiversity Net Gain data not provided and incorrect metric used
  • Factual errors and scant details in archaeological reports
  • The Joint Core Strategy states that Developer should have contacted Power Distributor at an early stage to enquire about the possibility of connection to the National Grid. We know that they do not have enough capacity to take the electricity produced at this site
  • Wide rural vistas providing tranquillity and promoting mental wellbeing lost forever
  • Footpaths providing amenity and promoting physical well-being lost
  • Ecological Surveys incomplete or missing
  • Solar Panels proven to have negative effect on many wildlife species
  • Crucial breeding habitat for red listed bird species such as the Skylark lost
  • Habitat degradation affecting many hedgerow dependant bird species and dormice
  • Important habitat for numerous species of bats including rare Barbastelle
  • Panels have adverse effects on bat populations of which there are numerous and rare species including the Barbastelle in the vicinity
  • Sheep Farming as a method of management not practically convincing
  • Soil is too fertile to become tussock grassland and wildflower meadows
  • Access roads via dangerous J15 of the A14 and a bridleway totally inadequate to carry high numbers of HGVs
  • Solar Farms are known to be targeted by thieves therefore increasing crime in the area
  • Maintenance chemicals likely to contaminate good grade farming land
  • Important archaeology destroyed forever
  • This site is exactly 49.9MW to “get around” planning law, as we know if it was 50MW projects in the UK are defined as Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects and go through a more rigorous and lengthy approval process. We know more acreage is proposed so cumulative effect should be considered.
  • Not enough research has been done to discover the impact of Solar Farms on the ecology.
  • There is no guarantee that this good agricultural land will ever be able to used again for food production.
  • It is clear that at this proposed site the harm by far outweighs the good and the Precautionary Principle should be followed.
  • The Cumulative Impact of 4 applications around Titchmarsh.

Given our concern to preserve the integrity and tranquillity of the Nene Valley with its mixture of river plains, scattered woodland, limestone villages and arable farmland supporting a variety of biodiversity, we ask you to join us in writing an objection.

The closing date for this application has passed but you can still object.

If you haven’t done so already, please consider submitting an objection. Simply email your objection to this address: planning.ENC@northnorthants.gov.uk. Please ensure the application reference number NE/22/01411/FUL is included in the subject line of your email and that your email contains your contact name and address in order to be accepted.

Alternatively, click on the links below to jump into the North Northants Planning portal. Here you can see the other objections (Public Comments) that have already been submitted and add one of your own by using the “Make a Comment” button.

Solar Farm NE/23/00858/FUL

We can win this but numbers are important and we need as many people as possible to submit an objection. The more people the better. We know it must seem like a bind – especially with so many other things going on in the world right now – but once the land around Titchmarsh has been gobbled up, there’s no bringing it back. If all 4 developments proceed Titchmarsh will lose around    % of its good agricultural farm land.

We must mount a defence of our village, our way of life, ensure we have enough good agricultural land to sustain ourselves and protect the Upper Nene Valley for future generations to enjoy.

A useful document in assisting you to raise your objections can be found

on the CPRE website. www.cpre.org.uk/resources/how-respond-to-planning-applications

Finally, let your local politicians know your thoughts and concerns directly. Below are the most relevant contact details:

Councillor David Brackenbury (Thrapston Ward and Chair of EAP Planning Policy)
David.brackenbury@northnorthants.gov.uk

Councillor Wendy Brackenbury (Thrapston Ward)
Wendy.brackenbury@northnorthants.gov.uk

Councillor Geoff Shacklock (Thrapston Ward)
Geoff.shacklock@northnorthants.gov.uk

Jason Smithers (Leader of North Northants Council)
Jason.smithers@northnorthants.gov.uk

Tom Pursglove MP – House of Commons London SW1A 0AA
Tom.pursglove.mp@parliament.uk

Contact details for all our 78 elected North Northants Councillors can be found at https://northnorthants.moderngov.co.uk/mgMemberIndex

If you require any other information or assistance, then please contact us at info@perchpolemedia.com.