17 NOV 2015

MP polls 1000 Marden residents about Solar farms

The Southerly view of Widehurst Farm 

Maidstone & The Weald MP Helen Grant has turned up the heat in the fight to prevent Solar Farms from blighting the landscape in the Low Weald of Kent.

She has personally written to just under 1000 local households asking for their views and comments on the value of preserving the green fields at Widehurst Farm in Marden, or allowing a planning application for 25 acres of panels and associated buildings, incorporating approximately 20,000 sheets of black glass adjacent to public countryside footpaths.

The responses as of 17th November 2015 were as follows;

• 41 (22%) were in favour of the solar farm application• 126 (69%) were against the solar farm application

• 16 (9%) were undecided

The responses included an array of additional comments, the most common from the opposition being the unsightly effect on the landscape.

Aerial view of the effect of the installation indicating the routes of the current footpaths

Helen Grant said: "I am a supporter of renewable energy technologies and solar panels have their place, but not on the green fields of Kent. There are an estimated 250,000 acres of south facing roofs in the UK residential sector alone, not to mention a veritable sea of unused space on the roofs of commercial warehouses and other large buildings. In France they even use supermarket car parks; shade for cars and shoppers plus renewable energy from the panels - good solution.

I urge the applicants to pursue these alternatives and leave our Wealden countryside alone. I will be writing to Maidstone Borough Council with the results of this survey in the hope that the planning committee will listen to the voices of the large majority of local residents who responded".

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