Preservation society launched to save fields from solar panels plan
Proposals for thousands of solar panels in fields skirting a conservation area village between Frome and Radstock are being opposed by families living nearby.
People living in Kilmersdon, Charlton and the surrounding areas have joined forces and created the Jack and Jill Hill Preservation Society to fight the plans. A public meeting organised by the group is to be held at 7pm next Tuesday at Kilmersdon Village Hall to discuss the proposals.
No planning application has been submitted as yet but residents living nearby received a letter from the development and planning consultancy Pegasus Group outlining plans to build a "solar park" on two fields at Charlton and on the outskirts of Kilmersdon.
To the east and south of the proposed site the fields are bordered by hedgerows, Kilmersdon Road forms the western boundary and Waterside Lane runs along the northern boundary.
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In its letter to residents, the Pegasus Group said the photo voltaic panels would be laid out in rows.
It is anticipated that the development will have the potential to generate up to 5.1mw of power annually. This equates to the annual energy consumption of 1,200 households, according to Pegasus.
But campaigners claim local people are unlikely to benefit from cheaper fuel bills but will be saddled with an unsightly blot on the landscape which would deter tourists and walkers to the area.
Campaign secretary Steve Mansergh, who lives at Charlton, said that land currently used for grazing and home to deer, hares, buzzards and barn owls would be lost under acres of steel and glass.
He said: "We have nothing against solar power but this is in the wrong place. Great idea, wrong location. We do not want this beautiful patch of countryside to be reduced to an industrial desert."
Families fear local roads will be clogged up with lorries during construction in an area renowned for its links to the nursery rhyme Jack and Jill.