max temp: 15°C

min temp: 12°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Solar farms must not be allowed to turn the countryside made famous by renowned artist John Constable into a “surrealist” painting - MP

08:34 29 January 2014

Brooks Newmark

Brooks Newmark

©PHILIPPE HAYS ¥ +44(0)7860 133 740

Solar farms must not be allowed to turn the countryside made famous by renowned artist John Constable into a “surrealist” painting, an Essex MP will tell the planning minister today.

Braintree’s Brooks Newmark said he did not want to be labelled a “nimby”, but will call for a change to the regulations to protect high-grade farm land, and represent the views of local people.

He has secured a debate in the Commons to raise concerns about plans by three developers to build solar farms around Pentlow, Foxearth, Liston, Belchamp St Paul and Belchamp Otten, near Sudbury.

He said: “If you looked at a Constable painting and imagined there were 300 acres of solar panels, you would think you were looking at a surrealist painting.”

He continued: “I want to be careful that I am not a nimby. I don’t want to support my constituents that are nimbies. But in this case, they have a justifiable case.”

He is supporting a plan on a disused airfield in Gosfield, near Braintree.

“That is something I am happy to support,” Mr Newmark added. “What I am not happy to support is something on prime agricultural land, in an area of outstanding beauty, which has no support whatsoever from the community. We need to differentiate between the two.”

He has already written to ministers Greg Barker and Eric Pickles and handed in a petition against the plans, with over 700 signataries.

He said he would ask planning minister Nick Boles to review regulations, which do not insist on an environmental impact assessment.

He said that “prime arable land” needed to be protected and local concerns taken into account.

He claimed that as long as biodiversity boxes were “ticked” – which could just mean sheep grazed on the land – councillors could be minded to override local opinion.

He said: “Not only do I want readers to imagine 8ft high solar panels in the Constable painting, but in between the solar panels I want them to imagine sheep grazing.

“It is something that Dali or Dada could never have dreamed up in their wildest imaginations.”


  • There are many good reasons to oppose or support any particular development. The fact that someone once painted the place completely lacks rationality.

    Report this comment


    Wednesday, January 29, 2014

  • Dada was not a person, and Brooks ought to know that. A mere movement cannot have imagination. As for Dalí, he dreamed of all sorts of things far more extraordinary than arrays of solar panels with sheep.

    Report this comment


    Wednesday, January 29, 2014

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

Community campaigners have saved the Duke of Marlborough Pub in Somersham from closure.

Campaigners are today making a toast to community spirit and tasting a hard-earned sip of success as their dream of saving a village pub becomes a reality.

The tiny kittens are now being cared for by a local vet

RSPCA inspectors are investigating after three baby kittens were found dumped in a bin bag in Essex earlier this month.

Halloween is nearly upon us

Fright night fun comes to Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds and Lowestoft this weekend as we celebrate Halloween - with the actual scare-fest taking place on Monday, October 31.

Cyril Nixon was treated to a special lunch with the mayor after he received an award for his part in the D Day landings in 1944

A D-Day veteran from Ipswich has been treated to a celebration lunch with the mayor after being awarded a French Legion of Honour medal for his role in the Normandy landings.

Flu vaccination feature at Barrack Lane Surgery. Dr Juno Jesuthasan and patient Sarah Turner.

Get yourself protected – that’s the message from Suffolk health professionals to vulnerable people who are eligible for free flu jabs.

Children dress up for the Halloween monster ball at Clacton's Princes Theatre

More than 300 spooky ghosts, ghouls, witches and zombies headed to Clacton’s Princes Theatre this week for a Halloween-themed monster’s ball.

Young ones at play in the sun by iwitness Brian Smith

Through our iwitness24 site readers are able to share their photos of Suffolk’s top beauty spots, nature images that have been taken great patience to shoot and funny photos that bring a smile to your face.

Most read

Great Days Out


Click here to view
the Great Days Out


Most commented


Show Job Lists


Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

MyDate24 MyPhotos24