Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 14°C

min temp: 11°C

Search

Newton: Plans to create a solar farm the size of 37 football pitches are rejected by Babergh District Council

10:48 20 February 2014

View from Edwardstone church across the fields where the proposed solar panels would have been sited.

View from Edwardstone church across the fields where the proposed solar panels would have been sited.

The company behind a failed bid to build a solar farm the size of 37 football pitches in a ‘special’ Suffolk landscape has hinted it could now abandon the project.

shares

At a tense meeting yesterday attended by dozens of protestors, Babergh’s planning committee rejected an application by solar farm development company, Sun and Soil, to install solar panels on 26 hectares of agricultural land between Newton and Edwardstone.

Council officers originally recommended the application for approval despite the concerns of people living in both villages.

But councillors voted 9/5 to reject the scheme, due to fears about the impact it could have on the landscape and the nearby listed buildings, including St Mary’s Church in Edwardstone. They were also worried about the temporary loss of agricultural land for the 25 years of the solar farm’s operational life.

Sun and Soil representative Andrew Allen said councillors who had visited the site voted in favour of the scheme. But he added that the company had not yet decided whether to appeal against the decision. He said: “At this stage, we have not made a decision about what comes next.

“We may consider downsizing the project or cancelling it altogether.”

After the meeting, Babergh councillor for Boxford and Edwardstone, Bryn Hurren – who received more than 100 letters from people opposed to the scheme – said he was delighted the committee had listened to the arguments and that “democracy and common sense had prevailed.”

He said: “We are campaigning across Suffolk to get pylons removed and wires undergrounded and this kind of scheme would hold that back. Sixty eight acres of glass, plastic and wires is not what we want in our countryside – it’s yesterday’s technology.

“There’s also the concern about the impact it could have on a finely balanced rural economy. There’s a wider area to consider and solar farms are not what we need here.”

Planning committee chairman, Peter Beer, said members felt the application did not give sufficient weight to mitigating the landscape and heritage impact of the proposals - or to the consequences of removing such high quality arable land from agricultural use.

He continued: “While Babergh remains committed to greater renewable energy generation, all developments must be appropriate to their sites.

“In this case the applicant simply failed to convince the committee that this was the case.”

shares

2 comments

  • We really need solar farms, but high quality arable land may not be the most sensible place to put them. Surely there is a lot of unattractive, poor quality, land that could be used. Maybe start with the ex-industrial land on the Suffolk side of the Manningtree bridge?

    Report this comment

    BrandyButter

    Thursday, February 20, 2014

  • we know they would not look very nice,a field of weeds is the same.we will soon be back to oil lamps.

    Report this comment

    TERENCE MANNING

    Thursday, February 20, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

The female driver of the car was not injured but shaken.

A lorry reportedly failed to stop after colliding with a car on the A14 near the Wherstead turnoff.

From left to right: Moira Ely, Leah Fuller and Colin Ely presenting the cheque for £2,000 to St Elizabeth Hospice after Colin's bungee jump in July

An Ipswich landlady has vowed to follow in the footsteps of her extraordinary dad – and tackle a charity bungee jump for St Elizabeth Hospice.

Spooky costumes on the beach at Felixstowe to launch the Halloween walk for EACH

A charity walk will light up Felixstowe’s promenade with its Halloween theme when it takes place next month.

Police are appealing for witnesses after the burglary of the social club of a business premises in Ipswich.

Allison Heathcote and son James Heathcote at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham, where she was treated after being shot five times in the Tunisia terror attacks.

A Felixstowe woman who was fighting for her life after the Tunisia beach attack in which her husband was killed has said she can only “vaguely recall” the massacre.

Cars for sale at the roadside

Trading Standards experts have revealed the top 10 most frequent consumer complaints.

Mars

A physicist who worked on a high-resolution camera that sent images back from Mars has turned his hand to writing.

Fire crews were called to Fraser House in Museum Street, Ipswich after a suspected gas leak was reported

A road in Ipswich has been reopened after a suspected gas leak forced the evacuation of a three storey building this morning.

Police are appealing for witnesses after the burglary of a disused business premises in Ipswich.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages