Land surrounding a former adult education centre that stood derelict before being destroyed by fire could be turned into a solar array.
Westmount in Dover could house 756 photovoltaic panels (PVs) on tilted stands which would convert daylight into electricity for local use by the National Grid.
Remember the blaze? Scroll down to click through our picture gallery
Plans have this week been submitted to Dover District Council for the 1465m2 site at 80 Folkestone Road.
It is owned by Blackcap Ltd, a London-based company that owns and subdivides plots of land. The development proposals are being handled by Noble Green Energy of Deryshire.
The application says: “The area allocated for Solar PV is waste land and is not suitable for housing or any other purpose.”
It adds that there are no trees or hedges on the proposed development site but there are adjacent.
According the the Design and Access Statement the PVs would be 2m at their tallest and “laid two high, in portrait format, in three rows orientated east to west, facing south.
The statement adds: “The PVs are set at an angle of 30°. This orientation and pitch maximizes the electricity generated by the PVs.”
If the array is more than one row – to prevent one row casting a shadow on the other, the rows are laid with a separation distance of 3 – 4m.
The front edge of each row would be fixed 1m from ground level. Connection to the grid would be via underground cabling 80m long.
The document also said there would be no noise impact on neighbours, the nearest of which is 50m away.
The application details drawings related to anticipated reflection and glare from the panels but the applicant says there will be minimal impact on the landscape.
An ecological survey has been conducted and the results are on the council’s online planning portal.
The study’s findings say care must be taken when workig on decidious wooded areas to avoid disturbing doormice that inhabit the area.
There must be low, covered lighting to maintain comuting corridors for bats which inhabit the area according to the Bat Conservation Trust.
An ecological study for an unrelated development in 2008 recorded viviparous lizard, slow worm, pipistrelle bat and badger species on the land.
The latest study according to Kent Reptile and Amphibian Group recorded that common frogs and toads and smooth newts are likely inhabitants along with adder snakes.
The site went under the auctioneer’s hammer in February 2003. It was vacant in September 2007 when it burned down in an arson attack and firefighters had to attend numerous times in a 24 hour period. It had previously been used as a Kent County Council adult education site where day and night classes were held.
The existing access can still be used, being suitable for HGVs that will access the site during construction and afterwards.
You can view the application’s documents by searching 20/01355 on the planning pages at dovergov.uk
Read more: All the latest news from Dover