Plans for huge new solar farm set to win approval

Land near Parham in East Suffolk where plans have been lodged for a 73-hectare solar farm

Land near Parham in East Suffolk where plans have been lodged for a 73-hectare solar farm - Credit: GOOGLE MAPS

Community leaders are set to give the go-ahead to plans to develop a solar farm the size of more than 100 football pitches in rural East Suffolk.

East Suffolk Council’s strategic planning committee is recommended to approve proposals by AECOM on behalf of Low Carbon Solar Park 3 Ltd to develop six agricultural fields off New Road near Silverlace Green, Parham.

The 74-hectare site would see ground-mounted photovoltaic panels erected that would power up to 16,581 homes, saving an estimated 11,210 tonnes of carbon dioxide every year.

If approved, it is only anticipated to take 16 weeks to build. The site will have an expected lifespan of 40 years, after which the land would be returned for agricultural use.

The site near Parham will be in use for 40 years 

The site near Parham will be in use for 40 years - Credit: GOOGLE MAPS

A report to be presented to the committee says developers carried out extensive pre-application consultations and just 10% of responses were against the proposals with 67% in favour.

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In their application they said: “The proposed development would provide a clean, renewable and sustainable form of electricity and would also make a valuable contribution to the generation of electricity at a local level.

“The scheme would add to the region’s progress in meeting its renewable
energy target and would also assist in meeting national targets for both energy supply and low carbon energy development.

“There is a significant and demonstrable need for the proposed development and the principle of renewable energy generation.”

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While Parham Parish Council has offered its support to the scheme, Great Glemham Parish Council said, while remaining open to the principle of solar energy there, it objected to the plans.

“We remain concerned that the wider impact of this development has not been properly assessed by the applicants and have strong concerns in this respect due to the scale of the proposed site, particularly in reference where it moves into the wider landscape outside the curtilage of the old airfield and the impact it will have over a large area of the surrounding countryside as a result,” it said.

Marlesford Parish Council added: “The solar farm would dramatically change our local rural scene for the worse.”

East Suffolk Council planning officers said the proposal would make a significant contribution towards meeting Government’s ambitious carbon reduction commitments.

The committee will meet from 10.30am on Monday, October 4 for a decision.

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