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Cleve Hill Solar Park

The Faversham Society has registered its objection to the Cleve Hill development. Although we support alternative energy we have grave reservations about the developers plans for Cleve Hill.

Our strong objection to this application is based on these areas of serious concern:

Batteries

  • The safety of batteries has not been adequately addressed
  • This is one of the largest Li-Ion battery installations in the world, with no track record of this scale of installation in the UK
  • This remains an emerging technology. It is well-established that such batteries can catch fire or explode, especially when exposed to water

This raises crucial questions:

  1. Which body will be responsible for assessing the battery proposal?
  2. Will Kent Fire and Rescue have access to the site and battery units; and do they have the appropriate expertise?
  3. Is there secondary flood protection, and how is this compatible with emergency access?
  4. Given batteries are the shortest-life components with individual variability, what are the replacement arrangements for these units, including traffic management and hazardous waste removal? 

Access and Traffic  

  • Construction plant, equipment and materials will be delivered to the site via three access routes.  All are routed via junction 7 on the M2, which is already overloaded and has a poor accident record.  Any blockage or closure will result in lorries using unsuitable rural roads
  • Despite the application’s claims of negligible risk, heavy vehicles engaged on construction projects have a poor safety record particularly as regards collisions with cyclists.  The freight access route coincides with the Sustrans National Route 1, frequently used by cyclists. No risk mitigation measures have been proposed
  • Graveney Primary School is on the access route for site traffic. Children must cross that road to access the playing field. Increased industrial traffic will pose an increased safety risk to these children. Also, increased industrial traffic may disrupt access to the school for staff and parents
  • The raised levels of goods traffic will erode the quality of the environment and the quality of life for local people. The associated loss of amenity is unacceptable, whether or not there is residual damage
  • We have serious concerns about noise, vibration and air quality

Landscape and Visual Impact

  • The proposal would have a destructive impact on this landscape
  • Graveney Marshes is part of Kent level Area of High Landscape Value and this has recently been endorsed as such for the new Local Plan  
  • Graveney arable lands have been designated moderate condition/sensitivity and Graveney grazing lands as good condition / high sensitivity
  • Views from England Coast Path/Saxon Shore Way will suffer major impact – as will views from footpath ZR478. It is also harmful to distant views, including Wraik Hill

Socio-economic effects and tourism

  • It is insufficient to limit the tourism impact assessment to Kent or district level. It must be assessed at Faversham area or Whitstable area level
  • People visit Faversham and Whitstable as historic towns with unusual shops and restaurants, and for their proximity to outstanding countryside and wildlife. The power station would destroy this appeal due to its industrial appearance and scale, and immediate impact on wildlife
  • The power station would impact part of a long-distance footpath and a national cycle route. This will deter people from using these for tourism and for amenity. The latter is significant as the population of Faversham is set to increase significantly with proposed housing developments. There will be more need than ever for open space and places to walk and cycle

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