Parishes near Grantham to share £187,000 from developer of huge solar farm
Four parishes are to receive a financial windfall thanks to a six-figure community benefits package from the developers of a huge solar farm.
Councillor Paul Wood, who represents the Viking Ward on South Kesteven District Council, played a leading role in negotiating with the applicant and their agents to secure £187,450 for Foston (which will receive £117,156); Long Bennington (£32,804); Westborough and Dry Doddington (£32,804); and Allington (£4,686).
The money will be paid by Bypass Solar Farm Ltd once electricity starts to flow from the site on land south of the A1 at Foston Bypass.
Permission for the 85-acre development was granted by SKDC’s Planning Committee earlier this month. The farm will be capable of generating enough renewable energy to power 15,000 homes, while the reduction of CO2 emissions would be an estimated 21,500 tonnes a year.
The panels would be high enough off the ground to allow sheep to graze and wild flowers to grow and the site would be returned to agricultural use after 40 years.
In 2019 SKDC, with cross-party support, declared a climate emergency with a pledge to reduce carbon emissions by at least 30 per cent by 2030 and be net-zero as soon as viable before 2050.
Coun Wood said: “We all have a duty to do what we can to tackle climate change and renewable energy projects like this one are part of that.
“I was pleased to be able to negotiate a Community Benefits Scheme agreement that should also make a difference to the local facilities available to residents. This is a large scheme and it’s important that the benefits are shared with the local communities.”
Coun Christina Lees, the chairman of Foston Parish Council, said members had not yet discussed how the money should be spent but she would like to see it go towards a project to replace a dilapidated Scout Hut on the village playing field. She said the new building would also be available for use by other nearby communities.
Coun Lees said: “It is not going to happen overnight but we already have plans drawn up. Having this money available would be a fantastic boost for the project.”