A VAST solar farm the size of 19 football pitches will be coming to field in Kearsley after being granted planning permission.

Bolton Council has approved proposals for the siting of a field of 20,100 solar panels on 31.8 acre site in Bent Spur Farm.

Applicants AR Partners Ltd submitted plans for the 5MW Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Farm which will be large enough to produce enough energy to power approximately 1,200 homes and applicants have said that it would result in a CO2 emission reduction of approximately 1,500 tonnes each year.

All electricity produced by the site will be fed into the national grid.

Planning officers recommend the plans for approval on conditions including that it will be decommissioned after no later than 25 years.

While the site will be on Green Belt, planners ruled that the panels low height of 2.5 meters off the ground, the 25 year limit and natural screening around the field and would limit any negative impact on the land

It was also ruled the panels would not harm amenities for neighbouring residents.

Planners wrote in the recommendation: "The nearest residential properties to the proposed photovoltaic array are at Mossfield Road to the north west of the site.

"The majority of properties adjacent to the site on Mossfield Road present gable ends to the site and would therefore only have peripheral views of the solar panels.

"These properties would also benefit from the retention of existing trees and hedges in this area and additional hedge planting where necessary."

The Rambles Association raised objection to the plans on the grounds the panels would make the public right of way through the land an unattractive walking environment, however planners ruled the route passed through a small part of the development and the short journey would not limit the "overall waking experience".

The proposed development will also provide the farm with a income stream for 25 years, and a 26 year temporary permission is being sought to allow for construction and decommissioning and 25 years operational life.

The site was formerly an extension of Manor Golf Club but has been redundant for the past 18 months.

In a covering letter to the council planning department, AR Partners Ltd said the land was no longer financially viable but the "development of the Solar Park allows the farmer to diversify and will ensure the continuing viability of the farming business."