Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 24°C

min temp: 16°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.

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.”

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

Police are appealing for witnesses

Suffolk Police are searching for a woman who has gone missing from Ipswich.

Fire crews called to eastbound A14

Motorists face queues on the A14 this afternoon after a vehicle fire brought traffic to a halt near Ipswich.

The Red Arrows were able to complete a shortened display at the Clacton Airshow.

For almost everyone it was the perfect summer day on the beach – blue skies immediately above, temperatures in the high 20s, warm sea water.

Tim Odgers on a recent trip to York Minster

Tributes have been paid to an “inspirational” former Stowmarket Middle School head teacher who has died of an aggressive blood cancer.

Duncan Goodhew at Swimathon 90 at Mid Suffolk Leisure Stowmarket in January 1990.

Shell suits, Fun-Fax organisers and yo-yos – all stuff you can look back fondly on if you grew up in the 90s.

File picture of Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service fire engines.

Fire crews have been called to help a young pony that has become trapped in a ditch in Palgrave, on the Suffolk and Norfolk border.

Ben Gummer arrives in Downing Street.

In the fourth of five three-minute interviews, Ipswich MP Ben Gummer explains what his new job as Minister for the Cabinet entails.

Students at Stoke High School - Ormiston Academy celebrating their GCSE results this morning.

The outstanding GCSE results achieved by Ipswich schools this year are a promising step in the right direction, the town’s MP has said.

GCSE results day at Kesgrave High School. Jonathan Durston celebrates his results.

It is a very special day for Kesgrave star student and head boy Jonathan Durston - who discovered he had achieved 12 A*s and one A in his GCSEs this morning.

The unveiling of Major Henry Wigglesworth in Ipswich.

Today Major Henry Wigglesworth is back where he belongs after a lengthy stay in hospital.

Most read

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

MyDate24 MyPhotos24