Gedling Colliery solar farm plans 'preposterous'
Environmentalists have said plans for a solar farm at the former Gedling Colliery site are "preposterous".
An application by Gedling Borough Council to turn part of the site into a country park has been approved by its planning committee.
A 34-acre area at the centre of the park is the subject of a separate application for a solar farm, which campaigners describe as an "eyesore".
Council leader John Clarke said the £1.1m park would be a natural habitat.
Work on the 250-acre park, which will include new access, footpaths and woods, will start later this year.
The council hopes to submit further applications for a visitor centre and a children's play area.
Last year plans were submitted by solar farm developer RE-Fin Solar to put 23,000 solar panels on a former spoil tip in the middle of the park.
The solar farm is likely to be considered by planners later this year.
Mark Glover, chair of the Gedling Conservation Trust, said building a solar farm in the middle of a country park would be "preposterous".
Mr Glover, also a Gedling Borough councillor, said: "It would be an eyesore for people using the park."
He added the hill, formed by the spoil tip, was an important habitat for a wide range of species.
Mr Clarke said the solar farm site was small compared with the size of the country park.
He said: "There was a scare put out that the whole site was going to be covered in solar panels. That's not true."
The colliery has been unused since it closed in 1991. The site is owned by UK Coal but the council expects to sign a lease on the land over the next few days - and says it will eventually buy it.
Mr Clarke said the structure of the land meant it would have been unsafe for housing.
He said funding for the park was coming from the council.