The Science Museum Group and Swindon Commercial Services have released a short film about the Wroughton Airfield Solar Park to encourage the public to take action and show their support for the project, ahead of a Public Inquiry into whether a solar array should be built within sight of an Area of Natural Beauty (AONB).
It starts on 9 September and will continue on various dates until 18 September in the Council Chamber at Swindon Borough Council, SN1 2JH, and is open to the public.
The film features excellent aerial shots of the airfield, right.
James Owen, Commercial Director, Swindon Commercial Services, said: “We want people to watch the film and make up their own minds if this is a good site for a solar park. It’s a very effective way of showing the site in context – a dilapidated second-world war airfield, with the urban backdrop of Swindon.”
The planning application to build a 40 MW solar park on the on the disused World War 2 airfield, which would generate enough renewable electricity to power 12,000 average homes, was called in for a Public Inquiry by the Secretary of State in April.
It is a joint project between Swindon Commercial Services Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Swindon Borough Council, and the Science Museum Group, which owns the site and uses it to store 30,000 objects from the reserve national collections.
Matt Moore, Head of Wroughton Site, Science Museum Group, said: “The benefits of the project, to both the museum and the local community, substantially outweigh the limited harm that may be perceived from the location at the very edge of the AONB. We think the film gets that message across effectively.”
James Owen added: “This is exactly the sort of solar project the government should be supporting. The local community wants it; they will be able to invest directly in it; and the site is already scarred with tarmac and ugly buildings. Please have your say and keep writing your letters of support to the Planning Inspector.”
The project proposal also includes a community benefit fund for Wroughton which would see around £40,000 a year, being invested in local projects for the next 30 years. Residents would also have the opportunity to invest directly in the solar farm, with a planned minimum investment of just £50, giving them an ownership stake in the project.
While the plans have had very strong support from the local community, with over 89 per cent in favour, the AONB and English Heritage objected to the project, which lies on the edge of the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and would be visible from Barbury Castle.