September 2 2014 Latest news:
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Proposals to erect another solar farm in Suffolk, which had faced strong opposition, have been withdrawn.
Campaigners in Baylham claim Eco Energy World, the firm behind the vision, made the decision because planners were preparing to reject them.
They argued the 50 acres of farm land, earmarked at Hill Farm in the village near Needham Market, was too good a quality to be wasted for solar panels.
John Field, chairman of Baylham Parish Meeting and a county councillor, said: “We have really taken a resilient approach that is in line with Government policy in regards to how high-grade agricultural land should be used.
“The solar panels would be more appropriately placed on tower block roofs or at factory sites – that is something we would support.
“Agricultural land has considerable value and is needed to feed the growing population.
“We are not climate-change deniers; in some areas they are fine, just not on agricultural land of that quality.”
The decision to withdraw the application comes after Eco Energy World was defeated at the Tattingstone solar farm planning appeal earlier this month.
Elizabeth Ord, the appeal planning inspector, said the harm caused by the 94-acre solar farm would have “significantly and demonstrably outweighed the benefits”.
A spokesman for Eco Energy World said: “Eco Energy World has formally withdrawn plans to provide a solar and sheep farm on land at Hill Farm, Baylham.
“We are considering our next steps in the light of the consultation comments on this project.”
This is not the first time the plans have been withdrawn to later be resubmitted.
In May last year, Hive Energy, which had then been leading the plans, took away the blueprints to allow archaeological surveys to take place.
Such were the concerns in Baylham that residents and the parish organised a meeting with campaigners who had fought successfully against solar farm plans in Hacheston, which were brought forward by Hive Energy.