Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 20°C

min temp: 12°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Essex: Tendring is ‘Wild West’ for solar farm developers

Solar farms are becoming common sights across the Suffolk countryside.

Solar farms are becoming common sights across the Suffolk countryside.

Archant

Clear policy on solar farms is needed quickly to end Tendring being the “Wild West” for developers, according to a councillor.

shares

Matthew Patten, district councillor for Bradfield, Wrabness and Wix who has raised concerns about four applications within a mile-and-a-half of each other in his ward, and spoke at rural projects panel meeting about solar farms.

The panel, a working party of district and parish councillors and officers, has suggested that Tendring District Council (TDC) should have a policy against supporting multiple applications in a particular area.

It has also said council policy should clearly prefer development on brown field sites unless energy companies can demonstrate there are no suitable alternatives, much like other major planning applications.

Panel members also suggested that TDC and Essex County Council should support applications for solar farms on its land and other suitable publicly-owned sites.

The panel’s comments will be debated by TDC’s corporate management committee at a meeting next week. The committee will then be asked to send their thoughts onto the local plan committee, which is working on proposals for where housing, development and potentially solar farms might be best placed in the medium-term, and also to senior colleagues at cabinet.

There are currently eight planning applications for solar farm sites across Tendring, including four around Wix and one at Burnt Heath near Ardleigh. They are often controversial with nearby residents who state they are a blot on the landscape.

Speaking to the EADT Mr Patten said: “At the moment it is like the Wild West with everything happening so quickly.

“Tendring has a perfect storm between a land grab by these newly formed solar farm companies in an understandable desire for renewable energy, and the council going between its local plans, and consequently its policies to deal with these things are a bit like an open goal.

“Stopping clustering, although not definitely in government policy, is implied and is something we need to look at.

“It is one thing saying to applicants you should use a brown field site, but Tendring and Essex councils own a huge number of those sites and at a time when both are pleading poverty we should be putting forward a portfolio and saying to developers ‘Don’t put it on that farm over there, put it on our land here’.

“The applicants talk about these being temporary things with everything being taken down again in 25 years time. But that’s the rest of my lifetime, and we have to think really carefully about that.

“I see no issue in any of these proposals. The challenge is getting some policy in quickly.

“Solar farms are part of the future, it is just about getting them in the right place.”

The corporate management committee meets next Monday, June 16, at the TDC offices in Weeley from 7.30pm.

shares

3 comments

  • There is no need for new local planning policy on solar farm location here: government planning Policy and Guidance is quite clear. Solar should predominantly be located on brown field sites and roof tops, not on "best and most versatile" farmland as stated in the National Planning Policy Framework. The DECC's Solar Roadmap parts 1 & 2 plus the letter from Greg Barker to planners of Novermber last year should make the policy position perfectly clear as does Guidance from Eric Pickles Department of Communities and Local Government. And planners should not be gulled by so called "environmental mitigation" that includes the grazing of sheep (they damage the panel mounting frames) or the planting of wild flower meadows (the land is predominantly too rich to sustainably support flowers). A toolkit for objectors can be found on Stour Valley Underground's website which provides links to all the planning policy you need.

    Report this comment

    David Holland

    Friday, June 13, 2014

  • I have solar panels on my roof, the only thing I would like to see on solar farms is for them to be higher so the land could be grazed by sheep to make more use of the land.

    Report this comment

    golfo

    Wednesday, June 11, 2014

  • Photograph headed "Solar farms are becoming common sights across the Suffolk countryside". All I ever see in the newspapers are objections to and permission refused for them. I travel throughout Suffolk and Essex but never been aware of a solar farm. Am I missing something ?

    Report this comment

    The original Victor Meldrew

    Tuesday, June 10, 2014

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

Mildenhall Lodge Care Home.

Providing care for those in extreme old age, and with serious long-term health problems, is one of the major challenges facing society – especially for an area like East Anglia which has a disproportionately high number of older people.

Tents uprooted from their pegs at Jimmy's Farm.

More than 18,500 people attended the festival at the 100-acre farm in Wherstead at the weekend, which was hit by heavy rainfall.

South East Suffolk Magistrates Court in Elm Street.

An Ipswich man is awaiting his fate after admitting assaulting two security officers called to a court because he said he had filmed proceedings.

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy in deep discussion with assistant Terry Connor following Saturday's limp 1-0 home defeat to Norwich City.

Ticket prices for the Ipswich Town home game against Sheffield Wednesday on August 15 have attracted a raft of criticism on social media.

The nature of care homes has changed. Picture posed by models.

The ageing of the population – with more people living into extreme old age and suffering from illnesses and conditions associated with that – has led to a major change in the profile of care home residents.

Grand opening of Care UK’s new Mildenhall Lodge care home.

Bosses at Care UK are confident that there will be no repetition of the problems that beset Mildenhall Lodge when its remaining new care homes open over the next few months.

Launch of the Get Connected event at Woodbridge library. The event aims to promote the library's online services and their importance to the people of Suffolk.
L-R  Alison Wheeler (General Manager), Helen Haynes, Tony Brown (chairman of the Suffolk Libraries Board),  and Sylvia Knight.

Suffolk’s library service will be marking its third anniversary as an independent organisation next weekend.

Joanne Mudhar, owner of the Oak Tree community farm in Rushmere St Andrew.

A Suffolk farm has turned to crowdfunding in an effort to keep itself afloat.

A three-vehicle crash on the eastbound slip road between the A140 and the A14 near Coddenham is causing delays.

A woman is in hospital after a two-vehicle crash on the eastbound slip road between the A140 and the A14 near Coddenham this morning.

The incident happened on Norwich Road in Ipswich, oppositve Coes department store.

An off-duty Ipswich police officer ‘launched’ a cyclist back into a shop window after knocking him off his bike in a road rage incident, a court heard.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages