The Friends of Hastings Country Park Nature Reserve have dubbed Hasting Council plans for two solar power utility scale installations covering 10 acres in the centre of the Reserve as irresponsible.
Michael Moor, Chair of the Friends, commented
“Both Conservative and Labour members of Hastings Council Cabinet, at their meeting on 7th January, recognised that the proposed site in the Country Park on which to build 10 acres of Solar Panels was in a designated Local Nature Reserve, within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and directly adjacent to a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Area of Conservation. I was shocked that the majority party still voted in favour of spending £80,000 to further investigate the proposal with the additional recommendation that Natural England should be consulted first.
The Friends appreciate the importance of renewable energy. However, the Country Park is described in the opening words of The Councils Development Management plan adopted, only in 2015, as being “Hastings' area of true countryside – and it is a very special area of countryside. … This is an area where the natural environment is of paramount importance”. In other words, the most inappropriate place one could imagine for an industrial installation of this sort.”
Michael Moor added “The Friends have long promoted and protected the Park as one of the most important environmental and social assets in the town. Our views are shared by the 850 local people who have already signed the Change.org petition in less than a week, and in many cases have recorded comments expressing their concern. After the Rocklands fiasco, we had hoped that the Council would handle their stewardship of the Park for the community with greater sensitivity. But apparently not. We shall continue to fight this irresponsible ill-conceived and damaging proposal”