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Big turnout at solar farm talk

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: October 05, 2012

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MORE than 130 people visited Luxulyan village hall on Monday evening to view a consultation concerning a proposed 70-acre solar site and voice their opinions.

A survey taken at the meeting revealed that 85.71 per cent of 133 attendees were opposed to the plans, with only 3.75 per cent in favour.

Luxulyan Parish Council vice-chairman George Haywood was present at the meeting.

He said: "Our role is to represent the views of the parish. We already have one solar farm where approval has been given and people are quite happy with that."

A 40-acre solar scheme has already been approved and is nearing completion north of Bodiggo.

Roger Smith, who is at the helm of efforts to block the latest proposed development, described the attendance as "fantastic".

"The vast majority were from Luxulyan, Bodiggo and Cross. We did leaflet the village and certain areas in the vicinity that would be affected."

Mr Smith said that 500 leaflets were distributed, boards were put up, and "word of mouth" was also effective in garnering support.

A list of key issues was circulated prior to the meeting. "They couldn't answer a lot of our questions," Mr Smith said: "They were not experts in the legal requirements or the mechanics."

Mr Smith added that the two consultees – representing Elgin energy and Whitehead Planning – were unable to address questions pertaining to potential habitat damage, or the decision to site the installation on agricultural land rather than brownfield sites.

He continued: "It did not suggest to me that [the developers] were going out of their way to win us over. They were not aware that this may alarm people.

"There was no nastiness, no arguments – we were determined to be polite and courteous and focus on the issue."

Sally Bain, Cornwall councillor for the Fowey ward, also attended the consultation.

"I am very supportive of the parish council; the development is much too big," she said.

"Luxulyan has had one solar farm inflicted on them, and people thought they had done their bit. I was not surprised by the turnout, and I'm really glad that there was support. It means that people care."

Mr Smith maintained a cautious approach to the future of the Tregarrick solar instillation proposal: "The community was most definitely galvanised and there was a strong spirit of unity and outrage. There is also a sense of fatalism brought on by the council-sponsored programme of development. There is a feeling that with Cornwall Council's political weight and the financial strength of the energy companies, planning consultants and landowners have the outcome stacked in their favour."

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