Published: January 9, 2014
Huge new solar energy park starts to take shape near Burnham-On-Sea

A new multi-million pound major solar energy park on the outskirts of Burnham-On-Sea is starting to take shape and attracting differing opinions.

Hadstone Energy Limited won the go-ahead last year from Sedgemoor District Council to build the huge solar park on farmland in Watchfield.

Hundreds of metal bases have been installed in the fields in recent weeks and the solar panels are now being installed.

Once complete, the facilities are expected to generate around 9MW of electricity, enough to power 1,900 homes.

Hadstone displayed its plans at a public exhibition in Watchfield last year when feedback from the community was mostly positive.

Director James Rowe told "The response was 95% supportive and strongly supportive of the project. Most people seemed to accept that farmers need to diversity their income sources, that the solar park wouldn't be easy to see and that it wouldn't have an adverse effect on local residents. There were very few concerns."

However, several local residents have got in contact with to express their concern about the scale of the plans.

"The height of the solar panels seems far taller than normal and the number has taken some of us by surprise - it is a huge scar on our countryside," said one resident who asked not to be named. Another reader says she deliberately avoids driving past the fields to avoid seeing the huge panels.

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