Hacheston: Firm makes solar park bid official
18:14 18 September 2012
GREEN energy developers have formally submitted plans for a 25 megawatt solar park on a 160-acre plot of Suffolk farmland.
The plans faced opposition when revealed earlier in the summer, from people living near the proposed site, in the village of Hacheston, near Framlingham.
Hampshire-based solar firm Hive Energy has now submitted an official application to Suffolk Coastal District Council, which will decide whether to allow one of the UK’s largest solar farms to be built in the county.
Developers say the park could supply 7,500 homes with electricity and produce as much renewable energy as 12 wind turbines. But objectors claim the 2.4 metre high photovoltaic panels would spoil an area of arable farmland, despite the applicant’s claim that the park will be well screened by hedges and have “no visual impact locally”.
The site is next to an existing electricity sub-station, allowing for connection to the National Grid, but the project would require transformer housing, security fencing and cameras, landscaping and other associated works.
Hive Energy hopes to encourage biodiversity with a wildlife meadow and the restoration of a pond, while creating additional screen and new habitats for local wildlife through planting.
The firm said the site could still be used for grazing, and that vegetation could remain beneath and around the solar panels. CEO, Giles Redpath, said: “We are delighted to have submitted plans for a solar park in Suffolk. This is a great chance for the county to continue to lead the way on green energy generation.
“The plans will generate a significant amount of clean, green electricity, whilst allowing agricultural uses to take place on the land.”
A number of neighbouring residents raised concerns over the proposal during a public meeting at the village church in July, also attended by MP Dan Poulter, district councillor Graham Peck and a representative of Lord Marlesford, president of the Suffolk Preservation Society.
Public consultation on the proposal will continue until October 11.