We want to hear your views on our plans for Uckfield Solar Electric Forecourt
GRIDSERVE Sustainable Energy Ltd plan to build and operate a Solar Electric Forecourt® on Land At Copwood Farm, Rocks Road, Uckfield, East Sussex, TN22 3PT.
We are hosting this virtual consultation to seek your views and help us shape our proposal to the benefit of the local community, environment and economy.
Please provide your thoughts on the proposals via the electronic feedback form or please feel free to send any specific questions or concerns to:
The site is located on land at Copwood Farm, Rocks Road, Uckfield. The site is located on the western fringe of Uckfield immediately west of the Bellbrook Industrial Estate and north west of the Uckfield urban extension. Uckfield town centre is approximately 1km due east of the site along the B2102. The site is currently used for agricultural purposes.
The site of the proposed Solar Electric Forecourt® is approximately 20 acres (8.1ha), incorporating both the footprint of the Electric Forecourt® and the adjacent solar farm.
GRIDSERVE has carefully considered the feasibility of a Solar Electric Forecourt® on the site and carried out a detailed site analysis. This analysis has considered environmental and planning designations, proximity to roads and residential areas, existing screening, topography, proximity to the grid connection point and availability of electric vehicle charging facilities in the local area. This location is considered appropriate for a Solar Electric Forecourt® and will include both opportunities to enhance the site and measures to address any potential negative environmental effects.
Key Principles and Benefits
The proposed design has been developed to date around a number of key principles which will continue to be a driving force in design development as we progress towards a planning submission. These include:
A modular design which is scalable and can be largely developed off-site;
Sensitive landscape design / replacement planting;
A green, clean and high-quality customer environment;
Considered lighting with inclined facades and external louvers to limit light spill;
The opportunity to, as much as practicable, integrate the site with both walking and cycling opportunities that may connect existing infrastructure and local communities;
Provision of e-Bike charging infrastructure for the local community and those wishing to ride from the site during charging; and
Use of permeable surfaces wherever possible.
Uckfield currently has two slow chargers (based at Wowo Campsite) with no additional charging points in the town.
This will be insufficient infrastructure for the mass adoption of electric vehicles that is both forecast and supported at national and local levels; the Uckfield Solar Electric Forecourt® will therefore provide a significant contribution to local electric vehicle infrastructure.
Potential to charge up to 24 vehicles at very high speeds simultaneously;
A scheme that will enable people to transition to electric mobility and potentially contribute to improvements to local air quality;
On-site solar generation; customers will be able to see the energy source that is powering their vehicles; and
A pedestrian friendly, relaxing Forecourt environment that allows that ensure customer can make best use of their charging time.
The Proposed Solar Electric Forecourt
The proposals for the Uckfield Solar Electric Forecourt® will provide 24 ultra-rapid charging points and separate lower power charging facilities.
The electric vehicle charging spaces will focus on the fastest vehicle charging capability and charging provision for different vehicle types, including charging provision for contracted fleet vehicles.
The GRIDSERVE ultra-rapid charging solutions will address mass market electric vehicle driver needs.
A pedestrian friendly environment, including external walking routes and a covered walkway, connecting between charging spaces and a two-storey hub building will be provided. Within the hub building the forecourt will be supported by a range of ancillary facilities, designed to maximise the experience of charging and optimise the use of the associated dwell time.
These ancillary facilities are anticipated to include:
• Lounge-space for people to relax/unwind whilst charging their vehicle;
• Food and beverage; eating in, take away or drive-through provision;
• Retail convenience;
• Collect and drop-off services;
• Hot-desk work facility;
• Children’s play.
The Solar Electric Forecourt® will provide a green and clean development that will align with Local and National support for electrifying transportation. It will provide ultra-fast charging for typically 24 vehicles simultaneously, provision that is not achievable at the majority of existing petrol station forecourts.
The scheme will also incorporate an adjacent solar farm, from which the majority of the energy consumed at the Solar Electric Forecourt® will be produced. This will consist of a series of solar arrays, optimally placed to maximise solar irradiation. The solar farm will be able to generate up to 4,000 MWh each year or an output equivalent to the annual electrical requirements of approximately 1,200 average homes or being able to fully charge from empty 100,000 Electric vehicles.
LANDSCAPE AND VISUAL
A Landscape and Visual Assessment (LVA) is being prepared for the site and will be submitted as part of the planning application.
From a landscape perspective, the site is within Low Weald (National Character Area profile 121) and immediately north-west of the Solar Electric Forecourt® plot there is a defined area of ‘Ancient Semi-Natural Woodland’.
The Solar Electric Forecourt® will be set back sufficiently from the adjacent Ancient Woodland and the solar farm will retain existing field boundaries and through its operation, make a distinct contribution to the protection and enhancement of biodiversity in the locality.
Considering the significant existing screening on the boundaries of the site, it is not anticipated there will be any likely cumulative effects on the landscape.
We appreciate that people living locally will want to understand how the development might change their surroundings. The LVA will identify areas of additional planting in order to help integrate the development into the local landscape.
A selection of viewpoints from which the site can be seen are being discussed and agreed with Wealden District Council. We will produce a photomontage with the application to show how the Solar Electric Forecourt® will look over time.
The Solar Electric Forecourt® will not be a trip generator in itself but will instead be used by cars already on the network. There will therefore be limited impact on local traffic and people.
A Transport Statement and Framework Construction Traffic Management Plan are being prepared for the site and will form part of the planning application. The Transport Statement will assess the proposed access arrangements for the site but also the integration with existing Public Rights of Way and opportunities for cycling. The Framework Construction Traffic Management Plan will identify how transport impacts will be minimised through appropriate routing of construction traffic and specified times for deliveries.
ECOLOGY AND NATURAL ENVIRONMENT
An Ecological Appraisal and Arboricultural Impact Assessment are being prepared for the site and will be submitted as part of the planning application.
Although a level of hedgerow and tree removal is likely to be required to facilitate access arrangements from the A22, the overarching design of the Solar Electric Forecourt® seeks to positively contribute to the natural environment and a Landscape Strategy will be prepared in support of the application.
A Habitats Regulation Assessment Screening will also be submitted in support of the application to demonstrate that the proposed development will not have a detrimental impact on the Ashdown Forest.
The site is situated predominately in ‘Flood Zone 1’ which is an area of land with the least probability of flooding. However, the southern fringes of the site contain a mixture of Flood Zone 2 and 3, areas with greater likelihood of flooding.
A Flood Risk Assessment and Drainage Strategy will be submitted as part of the planning application and will assess the potential flood risks associated with the proposed development and propose an appropriate surface water drainage strategy.
It is not considered that the proposed development will have significant implications for flooding or drainage and the Electric Forecourt® will be situated entirely outside the higher flood risk zones and infrastructure specific to the solar farm will be micro- sited to ensure the depth and extent of flooding do not conflict.
Share Your Views
We encourage you to complete the online feedback forms that are available by following the link below so that we can take into account your views and opinions of the proposed development prior to the submission of the planning application. The results will be carefully reviewed and a report on how we have taken these into account will be prepared in a Statement of Community Involvement, which will be submitted to the Local Planning Authority.
Please provide your feedback at the link below by the 18th May 2020.
You can also find out more about the proposed development or contact a member of the project team by writing to us on.