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Protests grow as more solar farms planned

THE fight to prevent the Wealden landscape from being scarred by large

solar farms has widened, after plans for two new schemes were submitted. Residents in Staplehurst are al- ready making their fourth round of objections to an application for 64,000 solar panels on a 20.5- hectare site at Great Pagehurst Farm in Pagehurst Road – first sub- mitted in June 2013 – after appli- cant Vogt Solar made amendments that included a survey of great crested newts.

ment says it wants to create the farm on 14.3 hectares of land in Widehurst Farm, south of Thorn Road. It says the development would have a capacity of 5mwp – enough to power more than 1,500 homes.

Now a proposal has been sub- mitted for 20,000 panels on 14.3 hectares of land in Marden, which will be less than a mile from the Great Pagehurst proposal. Elsewhere, more than 60 villagers

in Teston have opposed a submis- sion to set up a solar farm near the historic bridge and popular coun- try park.

In Marden, Susenco Manage-

The site would also contain a substation, storage container and up to five inverters. The scheme would come as close as 1,150m from Great Pagehurst Farm, but the applicant denies that there will be a cumulative visual impact. However, Charlie Foulkes, a strong objector to the Great Page- hurst Farm plan, said: “We are hor- rified to see that another such scheme is being mooted less than a mile from the first. In both cases, these are totally inappropriate uses

of good and attractive farmland. “We have support from our MP, Helen Grant, and from both Mar- den and Staplehurst parish coun- cils as well as the vast majority of local people we hear from in reject- ing the idea on numerous grounds. “I am as concerned as anyone about the need to reduce our re- liance on fossil fuels, but when you look beneath the surface, these schemes do not achieve that (due to the importation of the panels from China and the labour from Ger- many and the fact that they gener- ate power when it is least needed). “They are motivated by the greed of the installers and farmers and rely on Government subsidies. They make out that it is temporary, 25 to 30 years 10

Fruit fly threat

to our cherries THIS year’s cherry harvest is under attack from Asian fruit flies. Growers in Yalding and Loose

have already reported losing cher- ries to the bug, which enjoys the heat and thrives when tempera- tures top 20C. The threat to this year’s harvest is

Pie-flingers battle it out

THE 2015 World Custard Pie Championships in Coxheath attracted 16 teams ready to battle it out for the coveted trophy. Teams of four aimed to propel pies at their opponents, scoring points

for a direct hit a blow above the shoulder, and fewer points for those landing elsewhere on the body. After two hours of competition, the champions were a team from Japan called ITTE-Q, who had flown in for the event. They beat The Fairies (pictured), who knocked out defending champions The Grannies. Organiser Mike FitzGerald said the event was fantastic and much

enjoyed by everyone who attended, including the Mayor of Maidstone Cllr Daniel Moriarty, who presented the trophies. For more pictures, go to

just as real for commercial growers as it is to gardeners, with the pest partial to not only cherries, but plums and other soft fruit. Unlike most fruit flies, which at-

tack fallen and over-ripe fruit, the female spotted wing drosophila (SWD) lays its eggs under the skin of healthy fruit. Larvae eat the fruit from inside, making them soft and unmarketable. Malcolm Marden, manager at Worley’s Court Lodge Farm in Kenward Road, Yalding, says the bug, first recorded in the UK in 2012, first reared its h e a d on his farm last year.


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Charterwood July 2015 No. 219 News Industrial decision

MAIDSTONE Council has made a u-turn and decided that employ- ment use will be accept- able near M20 Junction 8. 4

Bring back festival

A WARD member has called on his colleagues on Maidstone Council to support a river festival in 2016.

Village jubilation

THERE was a day of celebration in Hunton when the opening of a cricket pavilion coincided with the village fete.

Successful beginners

MARDEN Primary School came second on their Maid- stone Kwik Cricket debut.18

Report accolade

EAST Farleigh Pre-School was cleebrating an outstand- ing Ofsted rating. 20

Comment Obituaries 46-47 30-31

THE decision not to debate the demolition of the Russell Hotel is defended.

34 Crime Reports 36

Parish Councils TWO safes containing cash were

stolen in a raid on a bakery in Headcorn High Street.


SCOUTS in Broomfield and Kingswood were being disrupted by catapult attacks and drug users; charity bags had been fly- tipped in Chart Sutton; East Far- leigh was calling for changes after a signalman was injured at the level crossing; a panic button was purchased in Headcorn; badgers were causing a headache in Loose; items were stolen from a charity bin in Mar- den; Japanese knotweed was an ongoing problem in Nettlestead.

17 5


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