Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 20°C

min temp: 13°C

ESTD 1874 Search

The pigs have arrived. See the latest

Pigs Gone Wild

news here.

Hacheston: Giant sun farm bid thrown out

08:00 24 January 2013

A solar farm scheme similar to the one proposed at Hacheston

A solar farm scheme similar to the one proposed at Hacheston

Archant

A PROPOSAL to install one of Europe’s biggest solar farms in the Suffolk countryside has been thrown out by a district planning committee.

The application for a 25 megawatt (MW) capacity development on 127 acres of farmland in Hacheston, near Framlingham, was rejected by councillors in spite of recommendations by Suffolk Coastal planning officers.

Chairmen of three parish councils and a neighbouring landowner spoke out against the plan before the planning committee deliberated its verdict yesterday.

They followed Julian Pertwee, business development director of green energy developers Hive Energy, who argued that the application was in line with local and national planning policy, and that the site was not considered to lie in an environmentally “sensitive” area.

Mr Pertwee said Hive Energy had chosen the farmland at Hacheston, which is still being used for growing wheat, rape and beans, because of its existing substation and the fact that Suffolk is now considered the next best area for predicted solar generation after the south west, where the grid structure was “clogged by renewable energy”.

However, neighbouring homeowner Wig Darby then told councillors that the site was “highly visible from public footpaths, highways and local houses”, and was located in a special landscape area and between two listed buildings and a designated heritage monument at Moat Hall.

Mr Darby also claimed that piledriving photovoltaic panels up to 5ft into the ground would have a detrimental effect on field drainage in the clay soil. He added: “I think renewable is a fantastic idea but I think photovoltaic just isn’t viable. It’s in completely the wrong place - the middle of a field in beautiful countryside.”

Hacheston parish chairman Graeme Hall then described any loss of agricultural land the “industrialisation of the countryside”.

His opposition was also shared by Parham parish chairman Andrew Houseley and Easton parish chairman John Owen.

Some councillors on the planning committee lamented the absence of an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) into the potential environmental, social and economic consequences of the development.

Framlingham councillor Christopher Hudson said he had never seen parishes so united against a planning application. He added: “It’s not fit for purpose and is of no benefit at all locally.”

Before voting, head of planning services, Philip Ridley, advised councillors that the only grounds qualifiable for refusal were the affect on the landscape and visual impact of the solar farm, and that the other concerns were either resolvable or not significant enough to warrant refusal in their own right.

Despite recommendation for approval by planning officers, and a presumption in favour of sustainable development in the National Planning Policy Framework, councillors voted against the proposal based on policy in the Local Plan and the pre-submission core strategy of its Local Development Framework.

After the meeting, Mr Darby said: “We always thought Hacheston was an inappropriate place for this development and it has been refused on exactly those grounds. It sounds like they came to the right decision.”

On behalf of Hive Energy, Mr Pertwee said: “We are disappointed that there was no support whatsoever. There didn’t seem to be any positives painted by anyone but myself.

“We will meet to assess the situation with our funding teams and everyone concerned.

“We believed a large single field with a substation was a fantastic location, and that we had done enough to mitigate concerns during consultation.

“We hope to debate the matter further. To close the door like that was not quite the right way to go about it.”

Councillors were also asked to consider two smaller developments - one for a 15MW site on farmland south of Great Glemham and another at Stratton Hall, alongside the A14 between Kirton and Levington.

But the decision on both proposals was deferred to allow councillors to visit a working solar farm on the outskirts of North Walsham, Norfolk. The visit had been scheduled for Monday but was postponed due to the weather.

2 comments

  • good---stupid idea---even worse than on land wind farms

    Report this comment

    maggie.ludford@googlemail.com

    Thursday, January 24, 2013

  • What a relief the countryside is saved .

    Report this comment

    Maree Marshall

    Thursday, January 24, 2013

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

Former county council leader Mark Bee.

Proposals for an elected mayor for East Anglia were still alive today after members of Norfolk County Council narrowly gave their approval to continuing the process of creating a new tier of government.

Ipswich and Suffolk Council for Racial Equality has launched a campaign called #SuffolkSolidarity, which is being supported by nine other organisations.

Do not let Britain’s decision to leave the European Union damage Suffolk’s reputation as a welcoming and tolerant community.

Dr Dan Poulter.

Suffolk MP Dan Poulter has backed former London mayor Boris Johnson to be the next prime minister.

Vicar's fears over hacker's extradition

A Suffolk vicar whose son is facing extradition to America for hacking into US Federal Reserve computers fears his son will kill himself if he is sent away.

Demolition of The Garland pub in Humber Doucy Lane.

Demolition work has started on a 19th century pub in Rushmere St Andrew.

Day Care Sister, Kate Barber

Pocket Pig is more than just a craft project, he gave hospice day care patients the chance to get involved in the Pigs Gone Wild trail and feel a part of their community.

Oliver Hindle

The parents of a young Ipswich boy who has cystic fibrosis have launched a fundraising appeal to buy a life-changing piece of equipment that will help him be more independent.

Most read

Great Days Out

cover

Click here to view
the Great Days Out
supplement

View

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24