'Tell your son-in-law to withdraw Knebworth plans' Duchess of Cornwall urged
PUBLISHED: 15:00 04 October 2014
Villagers fighting plans to build a solar farm have appealed to the Duchess of Cornwall to rein in her son-in-law.
People living in Knebworth, Datchworth and Woolmer Green have signed a letter to Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall asking her to oppose the building of a 40-acre solar farm at Swangleys Lane in Knebworth.
The application was submitted last month by Solstice Renewables, of which her son-in-law Harry Lopes is an executive director.
If approved, the solar farm would generate 8.5 megawatts of electricity – enough to power 2,500 homes.
Nick King lives next to the site and is spearheading a campaign against the plans.
He said: “I have nothing against solar farms, but they should be positioned where they cannot ruin the landscape, which this site would.
“I can’t believe that Camilla would agree with her son-in-law building such an eyesore.”
Responding, Giovanni Maruca, Solstice Renewables’ company director, said: “The claims by a small group of people that the solar park will have a big visual impact have been greatly exaggerated.
“The site will be well screened by the existing hedgerows, bolstered by new planting, complying with all the industry and planning guidelines for solar developments like this.
“We’ve gone well beyond planning requirements with proposals for additional tree and hedge planting so that the panels won’t be visible from the nearest neighbours’ houses.
“We’ve had a lot of encouraging support from many residents, who recognise the benefits of solar energy both locally and nationally.”
The application is due to be discussed by North Herts District Council later this year.
The WHT contacted Clarence House, the official residence of the Duchess of Cornwall and her husband Prince Charles, but a spokesman declined to comment.