PLANS for a huge solar farm in Purleigh which could power thousands of homes is set to be given the green light. 

Maldon District Council's planning committee will rule on the plans tonight.

The 33-hectare site in Hackmans Lane, would see more than 40,000 panels placed on the land for about 40 years. 

At the end of that period, the solar farm would be decommissioned and returned to agricultural use. 

The solar farm would generate approximately 25MW of electricity, it is suggested, which could power up to 40,000 homes. 

In addition, a number of CCTV posts and cameras are also proposed measuring a height of 2.8m along intervals of fencing. 

The proposed development would also include a temporary compound measuring 30m x 50m although the exact location is yet to be determined. 

The compound would provide parking for construction workers of which there are expected to be up to 80 to 100 during peak times while the proposed lighting would be limited to emergency lighting in the form of infrared lighting attached to CCTV columns. 

Access to the site would be from a single priority junction from Crows Lane onto an access track. 

During construction, HGV’s would access the site from Main Road and Crows Lane, then down the access track to the development site. 

If the plans are approved, construction would take place on the site from Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm for a period of approximately 24 weeks. 

A planning document also acknowledged some of the “adverse impacts” the proposed development would have on the existing landscape.

It reads: “The impacts would be limited to immediate receptors and would be mitigated by proposed landscaping therefore ensuring that the impacts are not significant or unacceptable.

“Likewise, any adverse ecological impacts could be suitably dealt with through mitigation to be secured by conditions.”

It added: “The development would, however, deliver a net biodiversity gain and would provide a source of renewable energy which is supported by national and local policy. 

“Therefore, in balancing the benefits against the adverse impacts of the development, it is considered that the benefits would outweigh the harm.”