Giant 24 acre solar farm approved for outskirts of Wisbech

Wisbech Solar Farm, Land North of Begdale Road, Elm, Wisbech.

Wisbech Solar Farm, Land North of Begdale Road, Elm, Wisbech. - Credit: Archant

A giant 23.7 acre solar farm which will generate enough energy to power 900 homes has been approved for the outskirts of Wisbech.

The 3.5MW solar farm, on land north of the Wales Bank Junction on Begdale Road, will be in place for 30 years before being decommissioned, with the land returned to farming.

Approval has been granted by Fenland District Council planners “subject to a further additional condition for highway improvement”.

As part of a community benefits programme, residents will, for the first time, be able to buy shares in the solar farm.

People will be expected to invest at least £60 into the scheme. In return, each investor will receive an interest payment every six months.

After five years, the initial investment will be repaid or can be reinvested for the lifetime of the project.

Applicants BEELECTRIC, who operate nine solar farms, say the site, which is 0.5km north-east of Begdale and about 3.5km south of Wisbech, is “particularly suitable” for the project.

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The application said: “The site is currently an underutilised area of low-grade grazing land surrounded by drainage ditches and the grid connection secured is on-site avoiding the need for any additional off-site cabling work. “

Two consultations on the solar farm were attended by 33 residents and the company received 22 feedback forms.

There was a mixed response - a number of people expressed concerns over security and the site’s close proximity to a number of traveller sites.

But BEELECTRIC said “just shy of 80 per cent of the respondents supported the scheme and the use of solar power to support renewable energy targets”.