The Development comprises solar photovoltaic (PV) panels that will provide up to 25 megawatts of power to the National Grid.
Above: View Oldhouse Farm Site Location Plan
ScottishPower Renewables (UK) Limited, (SPR) is developing Oldhouse Solar Farm PV Scheme, comprising of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels with associated infrastructure including transformers, inverters, and a substation compound. The Solar PV farm will export up to 25 megawatts (MW) to the wider electricity network. The site is located near the village of Ringmer in East Sussex, England with an overall area of approximately 44 hectares. SPR are currently developing the scheme design and anticipate submitting the planning application by spring next year.
Oldhouse Solar Farm PV scheme is located 1 kilometre (km) east the village of Ringmer and 4.2 km north-east of Lewes in East Sussex, England. The scheme is located wholly within the boundary of Lewes District Council (LDC), and Ringmer and Ouse Valley Parish Council. The proposed access is envisaged to be taken off Moor Lane to the east, for both construction and operational access.
Development & Project History
To date, SPR have had positive engagement with the local planning authority (LDC). The site was submitted to LDC during a “Call for sites” consultation in 2020 with the aim of allocating the Site for a renewable energy development in the new local plan. The Draft Plan is due for publication in Spring 2024. A link to the interim Land Availability Assessment (LAA) can be viewed here. A link to the proposals for the new local plans can be viewed here. An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) screening request was submitted in June 2022, and Lewes District Council deemed the proposed site as non-EIA. A pre-application request was also submitted, and a response was received from Lewes District Council in February 2023.
Although deemed non-EIA, environmental surveys are ongoing to protect the natural habitat onsite and inform the final solar design. To date, several surveys have already taken place including a landscape and visual review, noise monitoring, agricultural land soil sampling, geophysical, topographical, and ecological surveys (for example, aquatic, bat, and breeding birds).
SPR have visited the area on several occasions prior to discussion with the local community to ensure the proposal is robust and aim to further consult with project updates through the evolution of the development.
Design Consideration & Evolution
The Proposed Development will consist of a Solar PV Farm and associated infrastructure including housing for inverters and a substation compound as well as fencing, security cameras, cabling, and a new network of internal single tracks. There is potential to utilise the natural screening available on the site to soften the visual impact and reinforce screening through additional planting. It is important that hard surfacing is kept to a minimum and the areas around the solar arrays are maintained as grassland, with opportunities taken to enhance biodiversity through wildflower and grass seeding.
The arrangement of solar arrays would be consistent with the existing field pattern with hedgerows generally maintained. Stand-off areas would be provided between arrays and nearby dwellings, heritage assets, hedgerow, and water bodies. The following buffers will be applied;
- Residential 75m
- Woodland 20m
- Hedgerows 8m
- Major watercourses 10m
- Ditches 5m
- Ponds 20m
It is noted that the design of substations is, to an extent, dictated by the Distribution Network Operator, UK Power Networks (UKPN) but it would be expected for any buildings to be of a modest scale and finished in a sympathetic shade of green or grey. The Proposed Development will be connected to the Lewes Grid substation via the existing 132kV overhead line, that runs through the site. SPR are currently in the process of agreeing a programme with UPKN which will determine the likely connection date.
Further details on the design will be available through the evolution and progression of the planning application.
Site Enhancements / Key Benefits
In addition to the generation of renewable energy, Oldhouse Solar Farm PV scheme will also provide a host of ecological and landscape benefits to the Site. It is envisaged that the landscape proposals will be designed to preserve and enhance the existing landscape features, to screen views of the solar panels from outside the site and to enhance the biodiversity and habitat value of the Site.
Further details of a landscaping scheme will be provided within the planning application.
Consultation is key to the way SPR develops projects and ensures that local communities and stakeholders are given the opportunity to provide feedback throughout the various stages.
A community benefit fund will be provided as part of this development, details of which to be agreed and discussed with the relevant parties at a later date.
Prior to the submission of a formal Planning Application, an in person public information event (PIE) will also take place within the local community.
This event will take place at:
Symons Hall, Ringmer Village Hall, Lewes Road, Ringmer, BN8 5QH
Wednesday 27 September 2023, 2 - 6:30pm
Thursday 28 September 2023, 2 - 7.30pm
Public Information Event (PIE)
An in-person PIE is to be held by SPR on Wednesday 27th and Thursday 28th of September 2023 at Ringmer Village Hall. An invitation to this event has been issued to residents living close to the development and event details will be published in advance via local press and on this website. The information displayed at the PIE is available via the below links to enable those who could not attend in person to view the PIE material.
The purpose of this PIE was, prior to the submission of a formal Planning Application, to introduce the community to the proposed Renewable Energy Development – Oldhouse Solar Farm. We strive to engage with members of the local communities on all our development opportunities.
This PIE material provides you with the opportunity to:
Review the potential solar layout and design of the project;
Have an overview of the various mitigation and enhancement measures proposed to help create a biodiverse project with limited environmental impacts;
Understand what works we have undertaken to date and will be undertaking in the future; and
Comment and provide feedback on all areas of the project.
PIE Banners - these banners will be displayed at the event to give an overview and present key information on Oldhouse Solar Farm;
PIE Take Home Leaflet - This leaflet will be offered to visitors at the event to take home or distribute to others with an interest in Oldhouse Solar Farm;
FAQS - These provide information on frequently asked questions on Oldhouse Solar Farm, however, for any questions not covered feel free to get in touch with us using the contact details below.
We welcome your feedback on our initial proposal to help us refine the details of Oldhouse Solar Farm. You can submit feedback via the online feedback form. Please use the below contacts to submit your form and for requests for any further information, submitting comments or asking questions regarding Oldhouse Solar Farm.
Oldhouse Solar Farm Project Team
Scottish Power Headquarters
320 St Vincent Street
Please note that any comments made on the proposals to SPR at this stage are not representations to the planning authority. When the application for consent is subsequently submitted to the Council, statutory consultation will be undertaken. At that time and you will have the opportunity to make a formal representation on the proposal.
Thank you for your interest in the Oldhouse Solar Farm Public Information Event
As mentioned above, SPR have submitted a pre-application and screening request to Lewes District Council. Please click on the links below to view the responses.
Pre-Application Response Document
Screening Response Documents
This webpage will be updated as and when documents are uploaded on the planning portal.
The Project Team can be contacted by email.