Call for improved paths around planned solar farm in Torquay

People have been asking for improvements to a waterlogged footpath around the site of a proposed solar farm in Torquay.

It was one of the suggestions made at a public display of plans for the £3million scheme at Nightingale Park, a former rubbish tip near The Willows shopping centre.

A map of the proposed development shows that the signs would cover the southern and central part of the park, with a proposed wildlife conservation area to the northeast.

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A buffer zone of wood would be maintained between the signs and the houses of The Willows estate, off Browns Bridge Road.

The solar park would be funded by Torbay Council with a government loan.

The electricity generated would be supplied to Torbay Hospital under a ‘private wire’ arrangement, reducing its energy costs.

Ecological experts have conducted studies at the site, and plans include improving the habitats of species found there, including the brown hairstreak butterfly and the six-banded clearwing.

It is possible that 10% of any surplus will be used for community purposes within one mile of the site.

Nightingale Park in Torquay

The proposal for the park includes the maintenance and improvement of trails and the creation of new trails.

The landfill used between the 1950s and 1980s was covered in clay, which caused some areas to become waterlogged.

The park was at one time suggested as the location of a new stadium for Torquay United Football Club, but the idea was effectively blocked by the council in 2019.

Swithin Long, Cabinet Member of the Council for Economic Regeneration, Tourism and Housing, said: “We are committed to becoming carbon neutral and this proposal goes a long way towards achieving that.

“This development will also ensure that Torbay Hospital is one of the greenest in the country.

“There will be wider community benefits as we will also improve existing trails, create new ones and improve the landscape – not only for people but also for the wildlife population in the area.”

The solar park would provide 3.2 MWp (peak megawatts) of electricity and would be in place for approximately 25 years.

An application for the development is expected to be submitted by the end of October, with a decision early next year and work starting next summer if approved.

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