Anger over mess ‘in the most beautiful lane in the country’

Pic of muddy road and parked builders' vehicles causing chaos during building of nearby Priors Byne solar farm - local residents are angry over the mess. Pic Steve Robards SR1526775 SUS-150212-165113001
Pic of muddy road and parked builders' vehicles causing chaos during building of nearby Priors Byne solar farm - local residents are angry over the mess. Pic Steve Robards SR1526775 SUS-150212-165113001
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Mud and mess from contractors building two solar farms on land in Ashurst are causing a headache for local residents.

They are concerned about vehicles churning up grass vergeways, leaving debris on the road and causing congestion in Honeybridge Lane.

Lynn Dumbrell, who lives in the lane, said: “It’s a single lane and at the moment it is such a mess. It’s unbelievable.”

She said that Honeybridge Lane was once described by the poet Hilaire Belloc as ‘one of the most beautiful lanes in the country in which to walk.’

“Now,” she said, “it’s just a mess. It’s so depressing.” She said that she feared primroses which normally flowered on the lane’s verges in spring had been destroyed by the amount of traffic churning up the roadside.

“Why they have even thought about doing this work in the middle of winter on clay is beyond me.”

Two separate energy firms - Conergy and Gamma Energy - are currently working on establishing the solar farms in the lane. Conergy say their work is at an early stage and a spokesman for Gamma Energy said that the firm carried out daily cleaning work in the road.

Project manager Adolfo Geuerrero said that residents had been informed from the outset that there would be some disruption. But, he said, they had appointed a traffic manager who was overseeing the works.

He said that they were liaising with West Sussex County Council which is responsible for highways.

And Honeybridge Lane resident Lynn Dumbrell said that she, too, was taking the matter up with the county council.

Planning permission for a second solar farm in the lane was granted in September following an appeal to a Government planning inspector.

Planning consent was previously withheld by Horsham District Council last year.

The second solar plant, at Ford Farm, followed the go-ahead for another solar plant at nearby Priors Byne which had also been originally refused planning permission, but was overturned on appeal.