MAY 2015

The last year was dominated by one major issue, the construction of the solar farm in the centre of t Castle Combe Circuit. The principle of erecting solar farms was not perhaps the most contentious aspect of the plan; there were views both for and against. Rather it was the routing of the cabling and whether it would be through the village or across farm land around the village that cause the most interest. That coupled with the impact the trenching would have through to the point it would connect with the grid in Chippenham caused the most concern.

As events transpired the cabling was indeed routed through the village with all the attendant disruption and inconvenience anticipated. The residents of Kent’s Bottom were particularly badly affected.

As a Parish Council I feel, with that wonderful gift of hindsight, that we did not appreciate the damage, however, temporary, this development would have on local business. I will say more about this later in my report. I would also like to place on record my thanks to Councillor Skinner who took the lead in dealing with Solafields.

On a more positive note, The Parish Council should by now or in the very near future have the benefit of the £40,000 Community Benefit Fund paid into our bank account. It is also worth reflecting that as the Government has changed the regulations regarding subsidies for large scale solar farms. But it is worth reflecting that the planning laws did not cover the trenching and concomitant disruption. It is perhaps worth rising with our MP that this is a matter for the new Government to address.

At the beginning of the year we remained two Councillors understrength. However, we have recently been joined by Cllrs Manda Green and Mark Hayward. Both have business experience and the addition of both I hope will redress the balance of interests represented on the Council. We now have a good balance of youth, business and residential experience to call on.

Becci continues to be our efficient clerk and keeps us on our toes and produces the minutes and Honeycomb notes in a timely manner. Thank you again Becci.

On a personal note, can I offer my sincere thanks for all the support I have received from my fellow Councillors.

Alistair Parker