Higher farm, west stour, gillingham, sp8 5rt
Higher Farm solar project is located on 25 hectares of relatively flat Grade 3 agricultural land approximately 0.6 kilometres southwest of West Stour and just north of the village of Fifehead Magdalen.
The project is made up of three fields in one block and potentially a further two fields in a second block. The proposed site design includes up to 8 inverter kiosks, a 33kV substation, storage building and switchgear housing .
The solar farm will produce enough power each year to supply approximately 4,404 homes, using Ofgem’s Typical Domestic Consumption Values, and will help to diversify a rural farm business as well as create local supply chain opportunities. Sheep will graze around the panels in the fields once the solar farm is operational.
The panels will be a maximum of 3 metres high and there will be a 3.5m wide crushed stone internal access track formed within the fields. There will be a 2 metre tall post and wire deer fence with CCTV cameras for site security.
It will take approximately 3 months to construct the solar farm. Construction vehicles will access the site from the north, without having to enter Fifehead Magdalen, then via the existing farm access point.
The site has been selected for its location outside sensitive designations, including landscape, heritage and ecology. Detailed assessments of the proposals will be undertaken, including Landscape and Visual Impact Appraisal, Ecology Appraisal, Flood Risk Assessment and Detailed Drainage Design, Heritage Impact Assessment and Agricultural Land Classification.
Comprehensive landscaping and biodiversity protection, enhancement and mitigation measures will be proposed, including sections of new hedgerows, wildflower planting, log piles, bat boxes and bird boxes.
The public footpaths across the site will remain open and will be protected.
Site Specific Details
The site location is outside any specific planning designations, and it not located in or adjacent to any National Park or Site of Special Scientific Interest.
The land is rated as Grade 3 agricultural land.
The site is outside any zone 2 or 3 flood risk areas, as identified from Natural England’s Long Term Flood Risk Assessment data.