A SENIOR councillor has challenged developers behind plans for the UK’s biggest solar park to prove its benefit to people living nearby.
Three representatives from the Compton Group and the Pegasus Group brought their plans for a 180,000-solar panel park on Deeside before Connah’s Quay Town Council.
They want to install the massive park on 220 acres of greenfield land north of the A538 Weighbridge Road, near to Deeside Industrial Park.
But Connah’s Quay councillor and Flintshire Council deputy leader Bernie Attridge said he would not “buy” the application and said Connah’s Quay residents must gain from the giant scheme.
He said: “Why hasn’t brownfield site been sought and why isn’t this closer to Deeside Industrial Park? What community benefits are there to the people of Connah’s Quay, Deeside and Flintshire for the next 25 years?
“I believe there are better locations for the site, better than the one you are providing.
“I’m certainly not going to buy this application, you need to tell us what is beneficial to the community.”
Steve Gibbins, from the Compton Group, and Chris Cox and Colin Virtue, from the Pegasus Group, attended the town council meeting.
It is forecast the initial construction phase of the project could create about 100 local jobs, with more posts made available once the panels are built.
Cllr Paul Shotton said: “I do believe solar panels are a better way of producing energy, compared to wind turbines.
“UPM Paper Mill will also be able to secure their jobs because of the power you’re providing.
“Solar is the way to go but I agree community benefits for Connah’s Quay are the priority and we need you to tell us what you would provide.”
Mr Virtue told members Pegasus Group is keen to be a part of the Northern Gateway development on Deeside Enterprise Zone and its proposed advanced manufacturing centre.
He added by the time the application for the solar park is submitted, he hopes the future of the Northern Gateway development will also have been resolved. This would allow his group to play an active role.
Should the planning application for the solar park be successful, it is anticipated the 180,000 solar panels will have the potential to generate up to 45 megawatts of power, equating to the annual energy consumption of about 11,000 homes and making it the UK’s largest.
A formal planning application is yet to go to Flintshire Council for the scheme.
Currently, the UK’s biggest solar park is located at the site of a former Second World War airfield in Leicestershire.
The £35 million project, managed by construction and development group Lark Energy, consists of 130,000 solar panels across 150 acres.