Guernsey Press

Neighbours prefer solar farm plan to housing

NEIGHBOURS have spoken of their relief that a glasshouse site could be used for solar panels, rather than housing.

Former Guernsey Herbs vinery at Les Abreuveurs Road, where plans are being made to build a solar farm. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 32542565)

Planners are currently considering the application to create the solar farm on the former Fresh Guernsey Herbs site on Les Abreuveurs Road.

The site is classed as a brownfield site, and the Development & Planning Authority is currently carrying out a call for sites for residential developments. It is particularly in favour of using brownfield sites.

Neighbours said they felt the arrays of mounted solar panels, which will stand 2.4m high across the St Sampson’s site, were a good use of the land.

‘It doesn’t bother me. I’d much rather this than it being used for a housing estate,’ said Colin Smith, who has lived on Les Abreuveurs Road on and off for 70 years.

‘The vinery has been there for as long as I can remember.’

Sharon Pearce from the Crab Cabin also agreed that the brownfield site was best used as a solar farm.

‘It’s a good use for the site, better than if it were to be used for a housing estate.

'It’s quiet and peaceful,’ said Mrs Pearce.

‘Although I do think it’s a shame to get rid of that much glass in good condition.’

St Sampson’s constable Rob Gill has said projects that have a focus on alternative sources of energy, like this one, should be encouraged.

‘The island is far behind the rest of the world with alternative energy sources – any proposals that go any way towards addressing this on-island should be encouraged’ said Mr Gill.

‘This is a perfect use for disused vineries.’

The site was formerly the home of Fresh Guernsey Herbs for 30 years before the business shut down in 2019 due to international competition.

The greenhouses, which cover 80% of the site, will be replaced by solar panels, which are expected to generate 2.95MW of renewable energy, which is more than half of the island's 2025 target.

The States' new Electricity Strategy has targets of achieving 5MW of renewable energy by 2025 and 10MW by 2028.

A Guernsey Electricity spokesman welcomed the move for a new on-island generation project.

‘This is an exciting time for the island and we, as part of the energy industry, can play our part in the energy transition.’