A FULL planning application is expected to be submitted in the coming weeks to create a solar energy farm the size of 160 football pitches - and locals will air their concerns on Monday.

The project, off Engine Lane in Grimethorpe, will connect to the national electricity grid via a supply point within the development site.

Put forward by Enviromena, a clean energy solutions company, the proposed solar farm comprises three land parcels made up of agricultural fields.

In total the three areas cover approximately 88 hectares equivalent to about 164 football pitches.

It would have a generating capacity of up to 49.9 megawatts of electricity enough to meet the needs of more than 22,600 homes in Barnsley.

The proposals would see 15,300 tonnes of C02 saved every year, with the site generating more than £100,000 every year in business rates.

At the end of its 40-year operational life, the equipment will be removed, and recycled, and the entire site will be restored to its original form.

The development will take nine months to complete and small sections of hedgerows may need to be removed to allow access.

Enviromena now say they are considering the feedback they received from their initial plans, and will then submit a planning application.

A report states: “All the comments, questions and issues raised during our consultation will be carefully logged and considered.

“Details of feedback received and how the proposals have been informed will be detailed in a statement which will accompany the planning application.”

Representatives from Enviromena will attend a meeting on Monday, which is set to take place at St Luke’s Church in Grimethorpe at 7pm.

Residents from across Grimethorpe, Shafton and Cudworth are being encouraged to attend.

Brian Smith, the chair of Grimethorpe Residents’ Group told the Chronicle the plans have sparked heated debate in the area.

“The meeting will be open for everyone to attend,” he said.

“Enviromena will be there and they’ll give a presentation for half an hour, then people will be able to ask questions.

“It’s not a protest meeting, it’s a fact-finding one.

“There’s a lot of interest and some feelings are running high.”

As the chair of the group, Brian said he is neither for or against the plans - but admits he understands both sides of the argument.

“In Grimethorpe there’s quite a lot of opposition to it and apparently it’s the same in Cudworth and Shafton,” he added.

“As the chair of the group I am neither for or against the plans, but I am for renewable energy.

“I can understand when people ask ‘why Grimethorpe again?’ and ‘why not Cawthorne?’

“I just want to see if they’re going to do a biodiversity report on the land.

“It’s only marginal land at best - it’s not prime land.”