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Benefits to Westerleigh Parish were agreed following the granting of the planning application for the Solar Farm at Says Court. These benefits were negotiated from the day of commissioning until de-commissioning and is expected to last for a period of 25 years.
The Parish Council will receive £19,000 per annum to spend on items which will benefit the community of Westerleigh parishioners.
The Council would love to hear from anyone who has ideas as to how these monies can be spent to maximize the benefits to the parish – please contact the Clerk in the first instance.
As part of this agreement the parish will also work with Avon Wildlife Trust to implement two wildlife habitats adjacent to the Says Court Solar Farm (e.g. measures to increase bio diversity, related education and involvement of local volunteers).
The agreement with Avon Wildlife Trust will last for a five year period and will include:-
- Education programme – Primary Schools will learn about energy, the need for renewable energy and the impact on the environment with an introduction to fieldwork techniques and scientific investigations. Secondary School students will study at a higher level the scientific fieldwork techniques as well as the human impact on the environment. All students will debate the solar farm from different land owners and users perspectives.
- Community engagement – Guided walk and talk provided at launch of project. Opportunities provided for local people to help with monitoring. Two family events (linked to national citizen science projects e.g. Big Butterfly Count).
- Wildlife walks – Guided specialist walks delivered for local community
- Monitoring – Increased monitoring of species and habitat changes by individuals and groups. Monitoring data input into BRERC. Annual public walk to communicate project findings delivered
- Management advice – Liaise with landowner regarding ongoing management to help improve site for long term ecological benefit.
If anyone would like to become involved in this programme in a voluntary capacity please contact the Clerk.
At its meeting of 2nd February 2015 Westerleigh Parish Council made the following decision:-
- Having reviewed the responses to the consultation there is a clear consensus that there is no agreement that any such development would sustain the viability of the village.
- Current infrastructure would not change, and evidence does not concur that new homes would also attract new facilities
- The population profile of Westerleigh is consistent with other such rural communities and there is no evidence of younger people wishing to move to the village
Having considered the responses during the consultation period as a whole, this Council feel that there is NO need for an additional 20 homes over and above that allowed by existing planning policies to be delivered through a change to settlement boundary and removal of Green Belt.
As you may be aware, we have been going through a prolonged and difficult period of negotiation with the owner of Coalpit Heath Pre-school. This process has repeatedly been hampered by the widespread publishing of misleading information, not least in apparent attempts to make the situation part of a political campaign. Despite this ongoing aggravation, we have finally managed to reach agreement.
Please click the attached link for the full statement