A CONTROVERSIAL proposed 24-hectare solar farm near Bigrigg has more supporters than opponents, say developers.

Castillium, had its plans turned down by Copeland Council in September with opposition from nearby residents and councillors. But the firm has appealed the decision.

Director, Alistair Fell, said there is a petition from over 100 residents showing their support for the farm – which he says outnumbers those opposed. He also said the farm could bring in a community benefit fund of £10,000.

He said: “Following feedback from our two public exhibitions we reduced the size of the proposals by more than half, and worked with Egremont Town Council to make sure that the farm can’t be seen from houses in Bigrigg or from Woodend.”

Land has been earmarked for the development in the fields by Woodend Farm and Hollins Farm.

Cleator Moor Town Council unanimously objected to the revised planning application, as the farm would be visible to residents in the area. Concerns raised by the councillors included heavy traffic during its construction, loss of green space and the visual and environmental impact of the farm.

But, Mr Fell said: “With the hedgerows and trees we will plant, the site will be unobtrusive, especially compared to wind turbines or fracking sites that are being considered elsewhere.

“As a company we develop solar panels because we genuinely believe they are an unobtrusive way to produce clean renewable energy, without the visual impact of wind.

“The proposal, if approved on appeal, would also bring a community fund of £10,000 for local good causes, business rates for the council, jobs and investment during construction and maintenance. So we have submitted an appeal application and await the outcome.”