Ashford Borough Council in Kent wants to build and run its own solar farm. Following advice from the Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE) the proposal is for a 9MWp project on a 50 acre site purchased by the council in 2017.
The council cabinet has agreed that, subject to planning approval and public consultation, a solar farm is the optimal use for the site and would provide a significant income stream while having a low environmental impact. It is estimated that the project could generate £7m over a 25-year period, which the council says would help securing future council services in a challenging economic climate.
The next step in the process is to carry out a local consultation with parish councils and the community which will inform the planning application. If the project then proceeds to a formal planning application then there will be a further statutory consultation. Further expertise would also be sought at planning and procurement stage from APSE.
Developing a solar farm will add to a corporate property portfolio which already includes office blocks, a shopping centre, Elwick Place cinema and leisure complex, industrial estates and a business park.