September 23 2014 Latest news:
Friday, May 2, 2014
A planning appeal inquiry into a controversial solar farm in Tattingstone has concluded.
Campaigners have been fighting to block a proposal for energy-generating panels to be installed on a 94 acre site near the village.
And soon they will know whether their efforts have been successful – a final decision by the planning officers will hopefully be made within a few weeks.
Babergh District Council’s planning committee initially rejected developer Hive Energy’s plans for the solar farm in June last year.
But the company decided to appeal against the decision which led to the inquiry. It has been held over the last two weeks in Stutton Community Hall.
According to campaigners the majority of people living in Tattingstone are against the scheme, which is earmarked for land off Coxhall Road, and have various concerns about it.
Addressing the inquiry yesterday Nicholas Dutton, who lives in the village, said reduced lines of sight for road users because of screening around the solar farm was one issue which worried him.
Another concern was that increased air temperatures around the panels on hot days could be blown downwind towards woodland and damage the trees.
Mr Dutton said: “This is an unacceptable risk. The thermal footprint and risks to the ancient woodland should be grounds alone to refuse this application.”
David Wood, a Babergh District and Suffolk County councillor for Tattingstone, said he hoped the final ruling would be a favourable one for the objectors.
“I think we have put (forward) a very good case,” Mr Wood said. “I think we have conducted ourselves extremely well over the course of the inquiry with some very good points raised.
“I think people stood their ground well and I didn’t think people were overawed.
“We’re just hopeful that the inspector will let common sense prevail.
However Mr Wood did say he thought the decision may be a little longer in coming.
“I’d be surprised if it was in the next couple of weeks,” he added. “But the sooner the better.”