Witness call after cyclist badly hurt
WEST Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper has raised “serious concerns” over plans to build a solar farm on a former WWI war horse depot in West Lancashire.
The move comes after Lightsource BP revealed plans to build on land off Hall Lane, Lathom, earlier this year.
The development would be used to help power operations at NSG Group’s European Technical Centre, also in Lathom, and is expected to cover 30% of its energy needs.
A planning application has been submitted to West Lancashire Borough Council, and a decision has not yet been made.
In response, Ms Cooper has raised “serious concerns” over the plans, after claiming she has been contacted by “many unhappy residents”.
Some residents raised the issue of not being formally notified by either West Lancashire Borough Council or NSG about the development.
Other complaints regarded the fact that non-local NSG plant employees have submitted support for the plans.
The most controversal element, however, has been that the application seeks approval to build upon land that Lathom Heritage Residents Group believes contains the graves of war horses from WWI.
But, Lightsource said that the firm “appreciates the important heritage” of the site and has commissioned two land surveys, which “found no evidence of horse burials within the proposed development site.”
After receiving many complaints from residents, the MP visited the site to better understand the “physical and visual impacts” the solar farm would have on the area.
She said: “There is clearly serious concern and opposition to this application from the local community, who feel they haven’t been afforded an adequate opportunity to raise their concerns over the application as it stands. It appears the council have undertaken their notification of neighbours process, but only reached six properties, including one which is abandoned, one business, and one property rented by the applicant themselves.
“Residents are also upset about the sensitivity of installing solar panels on land where it is believed there are graves of war horses, in this, the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI.
“I have written to the planning director at West Lancashire Borough Council to raise these concerns and ensure they are fully addressed before any application can be considered.”
According to the application, the proposed installation would have an output power capacity of 2.5mW peak – enough to power the equivalent of 720 homes.
Under the proposal, the solar farm would remain in use for 30 years, with the land then restored to its former condition.
A spokesperson for Lightsource BP said: “We are committed to engaging with local residents on all applications. We have consulted widely with the community about our proposals for this site, including writing to 720 residents within a 2km radius of the site and holding an information event.
“The vast majority of the feedback has been supportive of our proposal.
“We appreciate the important heritage of Lathom House. As part of the thorough assessment process heritage experts undertook a geophysical survey.
“This found no evidence of horse burials within the proposed development site.
“We will continue to ensure that members of the public as well as the local MP and councillors have the opportunity to share their views.”
West Lancashire Borough Council has been approached for comment. POLICE are appealing for witnesses after a cyclist suffered serious injuries on the A570 Rainford bypass.
The bike was involved in a collision with a Volvo V50, which had pulled to a stop by the side of the road, at around 11 am on Thursday, May 25.
Before the incident, the Volvo and the bicycle had been travelling in the same direction, towards the M58.
The cyclist suffered face and spinal injuries and was taken to Aintree Hospital, where he remained in a serious but stable condition.
The road was closed for three and a half hours while investigations took place.
Sgt Lee Harris, of Lancashire Constabulary road policing unit, said: “We are asking for anyone who witnessed the accident, or who may have dashcam footage to contact us as we continue to investigate this collision.”
Anyone with information is asked to call 101 quoting log ref 0522 of May 24.