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Have attitudes to renewable energy changed?

Author: John Riches Published: 2nd September 2019 11:02

The Handley Park solar farm under construction in February 2016.The Handley Park solar farm under construction in February 2016.

Back in May 2014 Haymaker Energy submitted plans to South Northamptonshire Council for the erection of a solar farm on 60 acres of farmland at Handley Park in Towcester parish but adjoining our parish here in Abthorpe. The panels would it was claimed generate 12 Megawatts of green electricity. Our then parish council objected to the application on the grounds of road safety at the proposed Foscote access point. South Northamptonshire Council refused to grant planning permission.
In May 2015 an appeal was made to The Planning Inspectorate challenging this decision. The appeal was allowed and soon work began on the construction of The Handley Park Solar Farm.
Since it was completed the parishes around the site of the solar farm have received a proportion of the profits. Abthorpe Parish Council has received £9,349.62 over the past three years – money that has come in very useful. At this year’s Parish Meeting our council reported that “This year we were able to reduce the precept – the funding given to Abthorpe by SNC - by £300 returning it to £4,000, due to the continued receipt of other income from the Solar Farm which has allowed us to fund activities outside our statutory duties, for example the installation of new street lights, and the upgrading of the footpaths around the village green and Church.”  Also some of the solar money has been used to fund roof repairs at the Old School our village Hall and the soft furnishings that help to make it such an attractive venue.

John Riches

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