A SOLAR farm the size of 14 football pitches on the edge of Chard has moved a step closer to being built.

Developer Vogt Solar has submitted an application to South Somerset District Council to build the farm south of the A30 between Palfrey’s Lane and Snowdon Hill.

It says the 25-acre site could produce enough power for about 2,000 homes.

James Stone, of Vogt Solar, said: “The site is already well screened thanks to thick, mature hedgerows and we’re planning additional planting.

“We’ve responded to the feedback received from local residents by taking out some of the panels in the western field, and we think this will significantly reduce any potential views of the solar farm from public viewpoints to field gateways.”

Originally, the plans were for a 27-acre farm producing 8.16 megawatts of power, but the developer says it has reduced its size to address the concerns of neighbouring residents raised at a public exhibition held at the Cotley Inn in Wambrook last month.

If successful, the solar farm would take 14 weeks to build with access to the site via the A30, then on to the site via the existing field gate off the lane by Snowdon Hill Farm.

The land around and beneath the solar panels will be sown with a mixed species grass mix and sheep will graze the meadow, thus keeping the land in agricultural use.

Cllr Tony Prior, who chairs Chard Town Council’s planning committee, said last month that while he was in favour of solar and wind power each case would have to be examined on its own merit.

The developer says it plans to use the site for 25 years and then remove the solar panels, returning the fields to their current use.

Vogt Solar said log piles and bird boxes would be installed to create a natural habitat which encouraged rare flora and fauna.

A community benefit fund would be set up offering £1,000 per megawatt for the first three years to support local renewable energy, energy efficiency or other projects, the developer added.

Mr Stone said: “We think it’s important that the local community shares in the benefits of the solar farm.

“We’re keen to hear from any groups or projects needing support, and we’ll be discussing the fund with the local parish councils, too.”

A decision on the solar farm is expected from the district council later this year.