Express & Star

Chillington Hall solar farm vital for UK's 'green future', say Giffard family

The family that owns the historic Chillington Estate says building a massive solar farm there will see them play a leading role in the UK's "green future".

Chillington Hall, near Brewood, where Elgin Energy is planning to build a solar farm the size of 100 football pitches

Elgin Energy has unveiled plans for a solar farm the size of 100 football pitches on the grounds of the Georgian Grade I-listed Chillington Hall near Brewood.

Charlie Giffard, whose family has lived at the sprawling estate on the Staffordshire-Shropshire border for 800 years, said it marked an "exciting new chapter" that would enable future investment in the site.

The proposed carbon-saving facility will feature dozens of solar panels and a battery storage facility across 66 hectares (163 acres).

Charlie Giffard

Mr Giffard told the Express & Star: "This is an exciting new chapter for Chillington Estate. For many years my parents have grown and diversified the business to span from farming and forestry to corporate entertainment and the new playbarn.

"This new project will provide yet further diversification and most importantly it will allow us to re-invest in one of Staffordshire’s most important estates.

"The need for clean renewable energy is ever increasingly important and we are very happy to be leading the way to contribute towards the green future of the United Kingdom.

"It has been a pleasure to work with Elgin Energy as their wealth of experience in the sector has made the process very smooth so far."

The estate hosts events throughout the year including autumn walks, while the hall is open to the public during the summer.

The site spans 66 hectares of the Chillington Hall Estate

Elgin Energy is the biggest solar farm developer in the UK and has overseen more than 20 projects, while a number of other schemes are in the pipeline.

Earlier this year the firm saw plans for a farm on 70 hectares (173 acres) of land in Gloucestershire rejected by Forest of Dean District Council over environmental concerns.

The Government has set a target of reaching 70 GW of generation capacity by 2035 in a bid to cut bills and carbon, although Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has previously called for fields to be used for "food production and not solar panels".

A planning application for Chillington Estate is expected to be submitted by the end of August.

A consultation on the scheme can be accessed via until May 30.