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Tattingstone: Residents have their say on controversial 90-acre solar farm plan

06:00 26 April 2014

Aerial shot of the proposed solar farm area in Tattingstone.

Aerial shot of the proposed solar farm area in Tattingstone.

Archant

Angry residents have criticised proposals to build what would be one of the biggest solar farms in the UK – arguing it would create an “alien” industrial complex in a Suffolk village.

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Campaigners fighting against the plans for the more than 90-acre solar farm in Tattingstone, near Ipswich, said in yesterday’s appeal inquiry that they had the backing of the “overwhelming” majority of the community.

Babergh District Council dismissed the plans last June despite officers recommending approval. But the developer, Hive Energy, has appealed that decision and taken the council to the inquiry.

Objectors to the solar farm, earmarked for land off Coxhall Road, claim the number of tourists to the area would be affected – therefore harming businesses. They also argue criminals would be attracted to the village because of the value of the almost 43,000 solar panels and equipment which would be on the site.

Yesterday’s meeting at Stutton Community Hall gave residents a chance to have their say on the plans.

Steve Kirk said: “To me it is unimaginable that this beautiful piece of the Suffolk landscape could be turned into a large industrial site surrounded by a high fence and CCTV more suited to one of Her Majesty’s prisons.”

Stephen Solley said the artist John Constable was in Tattingstone from July to October 1814. “This is a key heritage asset. It would be sacrilegious to put an industrial complex on this site, so that my young grandchildren will never see the land as Constable surely saw it.”

But Keith Herod, a former councillor, defended the plans. He said that one argument – that high-grade agricultural land should not be used for solar farms – was invalid as it could not be applied in last year’s decision because the then planning policy failed to include it.

He said: “I have to start off by saying that the officers passed this and the development committee voted against it. I want to point out that this is not unusual – the committee are quite maverick in their decision making.”

Janet White also spoke out in support of the solar farm. She said “urgent action” was needed on climate change.

“I feel the overriding consideration in relation of the proposals for the solar park in Tattingstone must be the urgent action which is needed,” she said.

David Hardy is a solicitor representing Hive Energy. He said on the issue of the solar farm attracting less visitors to the nearby reservoir Alton Water: “It has to be to the point that it deters people from coming, not just that they are having a worse experience – if they lower their heads when they pass the site, if that’s how they feel. It’s not credible to say that people would be deterred to coming if there was a sheltered solar farm.”

The inquiry will continue on Tuesday from 9.30am.

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10 comments

  • Years ago people complained of windmills, they were claimed as eyesores, now we can se how brilliant they were. Solar power is free! An alien visiting earth would laugh at us polluting our atmosphere and draining our tectonic plates of their shock absorbers ( oil gas). We're doomed.

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    Lee Davies

    Monday, April 28, 2014

  • Was pies wife. Get your own account instead of embarassing your other half with aimless unsubstantiated rubbish.

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    Lee Davies

    Monday, April 28, 2014

  • Definite case of NIMBY as always. If people want the modern lifestyle and the benefits of electricity it has to be produced somewhere and somehow, it doesn't appear by magic and as we have an ever expanding population there is precious little space left to build such things that won't impact on someone in some way. Personally I'd rather have a solar or wind farm on my doorstep than a nuclear power plant! Time moves on and we have to accept that to get the benefit and luxuries we demand living in a modern society it involves changes, would Mr Solley really like his grandchildren to see the land as Constable did - the scenery may have looked nice in places but the living conditions at that time left a lot to be desired, cold and dark without electricity in homes, filth as there was no sewerage system or mains water supply and with nice outbreaks of typhoid, cholera and tb to mention a few and those conditions would remain today had it not been for advancement and change which no doubt people complained about at the time too!

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    MZH

    Sunday, April 27, 2014

  • constable was in tattingstone in 1814 , so what . there were loads of sheep pigs and horses, as well.

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    TERENCE MANNING

    Sunday, April 27, 2014

  • Neil (Suffolk)

    Saturday, April 26, 2014

  • Absolute wrong place to build it. Furthermore it will be a very expensive way of generating electricity that wont contribute very much to the national grid. You don't need sunny weather for Solar Panels, however the UV in this country due to the climate limits the effectiveness. You are looking at peak power output for 9-14 days (not a 24hr day obviously) per year and at other times always a percentage between 20% and 60%. Solar Panels deteriorate with age reducing in output power. There is a reason why the Government has favoured wind power off the coast... these massive turbines wouldn't be attempted at such cost if relatively small panels could be used shipped on a few lorry containers from China. ***** No doubt taking advantage of subsidiaries and tax cuts... and because of these reasons it shouldn't go ahead. Councils nationwide have been accepting them so its likely to. ***** Stats from Hive Energy... cost £1.2m for 4000 panel solar farm (1MW), 10 lorries to deliver, 2 months to set up and takes 2.5 years to offset the CO2 involved in constructing the panels. Yes - Two and a half years clean power to make up for the panels... so the claimed benefits of this clean energy doesn't really begin until almost 3 years after construction ...by then no one will really be visiting Alton Water any more.

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    Ipswich Entrepreneur

    Saturday, April 26, 2014

  • It's a green energy scheme which will be far more beneficial than the large field of oil seed rape currently growing. It will produce electricity not pollution. Currently energy largely comes from Russia or the Middle East. It will be seen by few people especially after landscaping. The scheme should proceed

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    gpghbk

    Saturday, April 26, 2014

  • Waspie, could you please give your contribution a little more thought and rewrite it, l could not understand what you were trying to say. In my opinion, l firmly believe that every town and city should have at least one Solar farm, a Wind farm and a Waste Recycling Plant like the one in Gt Blakenham.

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    jack rabbit

    Saturday, April 26, 2014

  • Waspie's wife....Solar fields ugly things. Easy targets for theft. While we have China over 43and Germany 12 lsst count are building power stations, while we are closing ours! Our efforts are a drop in the ocean,

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    waspie

    Saturday, April 26, 2014

  • Various sections of our society do not want solar panels or turbines. Others are against fracking and coal burning power stations. We depend on other countries for gas which could be turned off at a whim. We all want cheap clean power but how then?

    Report this comment

    The original Victor Meldrew

    Saturday, April 26, 2014

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