Local developers Mably Solar have asked residents of Fraddam and the surrounding areas to provide feedback on a proposed solar farm development and community fund.
Chris Ivess-Mash, Managing Director at Mably Solar and owner of the farm land upon which the proposed solar farm is to be sited, had farmed the land for many years with his parents whilst they developed the local leisure facility, Country Skittles.
His family company, Mably Solar, are now in the process of making an application to Cornwall Council planning department for a 6.2MWp solar farm in a field adjacent to Bunkers Hill, near the village of Fraddam in West Cornwall. Residents in the surrounding areas, which include Leedstown, St Erth, St Erth Praze, Fraddam, Godolphin and Townshend, were invited to an exhibition on Saturday 18th May at Leedstown Village Hall
This public exhibition provided the local community with an opportunity to view details of the proposed development, the design, location and technology involved.
The developers are keen to ensure the solar farm has a positive impact on the surrounding area. They are planning a Community Trust Fund which will be made available for local projects, such as community groups, to help with their running costs, tackling fuel poverty and improving community facilities. The fund could potentially see £3,500 per megawatt per year invested into the local community over the next twenty years. The exhibition event also served as an opportunity for the community to participate in the allocation of the fund.
The developers have also taken the unique decision to extend the community benefits of the project further. Chris Ivess-Mash explains: “This is not the usual developer model. We suspect that there will be a degree of national and local interest in the way the project is developed from commissioning to operating the site and investing in the local community. We’re hoping that this will become a flagship model for the way solar farms should be established, and it is possible it will have an impact on the way farmers provide land to renewable developers in the future. Not only are we planning to utilise a guaranteed Community Trust Fund, but we are also expanding the community benefits by exploring the possibility of having an additional fund to support local businesses. The exhibition also enabled the community to register their interest in participating in the allocation of the fund.
Furthermore, we have put in place plans to involve Cornwall College, so that their students can engage practically in the running and development of the site at numerous stages, whilst learning more about renewable energy and how it works commercially. We’re keen to ensure the project also provides local employment opportunities so will be using local suppliers and Cornish contractors wherever possible. Having spent most of my life in Cornwall, I wanted to ensure that the local community will really benefit from the development at all possible levels”
The developers are urging anyone who is interested in the proposal to visit the development website: www.mably-solar.co.uk.
St.Erth Parish Council has not yet been consulted on this proposal and has therefore no formal view at this stage.