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Community Wrexham

Solar farm and battery storage facility for Cross Lanes set for approval

Plans to create a new solar farm and battery storage facility in Wrexham County Borough look set to be given the go ahead.

Applicants Novus Renewable Services, have proposed that a 9.3 hectare site between the Maelor Gas Works and Wrexham Industrial Estate is used for the new development.

It would sit adjacent to an exiting solar park, although it would operate separately.

The proposed solar park would have a maximum export capacity of 5.7MWp and the battery storage facility would have an import/export capacity of 16MWh.

Wrexham Council’s chief planning officer has recommended the application is approved ahead of a meeting of the planning committee on Monday (7 November).

However concerns about access to the site and noise have been raised by Sesswick Community Council, who have objected the development on access grounds.

In a document released ahead of next week’s committee, the community council say: “The potential of background noise from the generators and other apparatus when in operation, in combination with the existing solar farms in the vicinity. Whereas the existing solar farms do not appear to be causing noise pollution, when an additional one of this size is added to the mix, in combination they may generate a more noticeable noise level.

“The revised change relating to the proposed access to the site is noted, that being via the B 5130 and the unnamed lane near Talwrn House. SCC objects to this revised access plan.

“The B5130 would take the construction traffic along a less suitable B Road, used by walkers on a regular daily basis, where there are no pavements or grass verges for the most part and through a settlement with a 30mph speed restriction.

“There is regular congestion at the Cross Lanes traffic lights and nearby co op shop. The speed restriction is frequently ignored to the detriment of walkers. This would put the safety of road users, in particular pedestrians and cyclists at risk.”

Sesswick Community Council adds that it would be minded to support the original proposal of access.

Addressing concerns about highways and noise the council’s chief planning officer, notes: “The construction period is scheduled to last for 16 weeks with up to 13 daily arrivals and departures associated with construction workers.

“The maximum weekly need for HGV movements is estimated to be 77, although this will only be during the second week of construction. In other weeks, the number of HGV movements is likely to be between 5 and 38, with 6 weeks where no HGV movements are expected at all.

“Following completion of the development, the site is expected to require 1-2 visits per month for maintenance.

“The proposed access junction off the B5130 has good visibility and has previously been used by similar traffic during the construction of the solar farm at Bridge Farm.

“The Council’s Highway Officer has advised that the proposal would not pose an undue risk to the safety of highway uses and there are no highway reasons as to why planning permission should not be granted. In such terms, the proposal accords with policy GDP1.

“The Community Council (CC) has expressed concerns about noise, particularly in conjunction with the existing adjoining solar farm. However, the CC has suggested that the latter does not appear to be causing noise pollution.

“The proposed solar farm comprises solar panels, inverters and batteries. It is considered that these elements are unlikely to generate significant levels of noise either by themselves or in combination with the adjoining solar farm.

“The Council’s Public Protection Officer raises no objection to the proposal subject to a condition being imposed regarding noise generation. With such a condition imposed, the proposal would accord with policy GDP1.”

The chief planning officer added: “The site is considered to be an appropriate location for the proposed development.

“The proposed solar farm would not harm the surrounding landscape. Having regard to layout of the site and the mitigation measures proposed, nor would it give rise to unacceptable flood risk, pollution or highway impacts.

“On this basis, the proposal accords with the relevant development plan policies.”

The application will be considered by members of Wrexham Council’s planning committee on Monday 7 November at 4pm. The meeting will also be webcast on the Wrexham Council website.

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