Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 21°C

min temp: 15°C

ESTD 1874 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

Stephen Higgins has been sentenced for speeding. Leaving Bury St Edmunds Magistrates' Court.

Suffolk’s police and crime commissioner says the public have been “let down” after a motorcyclist caught going 133mph on the A14 walked away from court with a £50 fine and three-month driving ban.

The Very Rev Martin Thrower

Worshippers at Hadleigh Church have reacted with sadness after learning that their rector has been arrested on suspicion of voyeurism.

The crash is causing delays.

There are traffic delays on the A14 westbound in west Suffolk due to a crash.

File picture of a hay stack fire.

Firefighters are still at the scene of a hay stack blaze that broke out shortly before midnight.

Ipswich Crown Court

An Essex man was grabbed from behind and robbed of his mobile phone at knifepoint after he was approached by a group of five men as he walked home from a training course in Colchester, it has been alleged.

GB Paralympic swimmer, Ryan Crouch, is pictured at Crown Pools in Ipswich.

Britain’s Olympic success might be seen as a hard act to follow – but East Anglian Paralympic swimmer Ryan Crouch says the show has only just begun.

An East of England Ambulance Trust ambulance. Photograph Simon Parker

A car has overturned on Woodbridge Road close to Barclays Bank in Ipswich.

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:

MyDate24 MyPhotos24