Baylham: Solar farm proposal withdrawn for archaeological dig to take place
- Credit: ANDY MCGILL
Proposals for a £12million 50-acre solar farm have been withdrawn by the company involved.
Hive Energy Ltd put forward the scheme for a site at Hill Farm, in Baylham, near Great Blakenham, and it would have contained about 45,000 panels.
But the planning application has now been withdrawn to allow an archaeological dig to take place after Suffolk County Council said there was a “high potential” of discovering important heritage artefacts there.
Julian Pertwee, business development director for Hive Energy, said: “We have withdrawn the application so we can carry out surveys at the site. We will be doing the surveys to ensure there are no artefacts at the site.
“We are then looking to re-submit the application within a month or two. We are confident that it will be definitely re-submitted.”
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There have also been concerns raised over the visual impact caused by the farm and its effect on nearby Shrublands Park, which is an English Heritage Grade I site.
Baylham Parish Meeting decided to unanimously oppose the plans following a meeting attended by almost 40 people. A letter sent from the parish to Mid Suffolk District Council says: “We would comment that while photovoltaic energy sources lack the height, noise and flicker potential of wind energy they consume considerably more agricultural land, require extensive high-security fences and security lighting, which are incompatible with a rural environment.
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“A significant portion of the proposed solar farm would be visible from the eight listed buildings in the immediate area particularly the five that exist on Upper Street, the main street of the village, impacting on their significance.”
Mr Pertwee said: “There were visual impact concerns from local residents and we are doing everything to ensure the solar farm is not seen by anyone.
“The site is in an extremely good place for a solar farm and it ticks all of the boxes.”
He said woodland and hedgerows would surround the site and shield the solar farm from view.
The county council said there had been a number of medieval and post-medieval finds at the site as well as some prehistoric artefacts in nearby quarry pits.
Iron Age, Roman and Saxon artefacts have been located to the south of the proposed site at an area which is a possible Roman temple.
The farm would be capable of generating up to 10 megawatts of electricity and would have a lifespan of 25 years before the site would be left as farmland.