Reydon: ‘Eyesore’ concerns as new solar farm bid submitted

Solar power panels

Solar power panels - Credit: Robin Mews

FRESH plans have been submitted for a solar farm on 26 acres of agricultural land at Reydon – prompting concerns that it will become an eyesore within an area of scenic countryside.

German-owned AEE Renewables wants to install more than 18,000 1.9m high solar panels on a site at Reydon Farm in Quay Lane, which is within the Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

It is the second planning application the company has submitted for the site, after withdrawing similar proposals last year.

The company says the solar farm, which would be accessed from Quay Lane, would have the potential to produce 4.39megaWatts of electricity for the National Grid and would be capable of providing power for up to 1,362 homes.

But the plans have already attracted a number of objections.

Opponents say the development is inappropriate for a site within an AONB and would have a negative impact on the landscape and character of the area.

They also argue that agricultural land should not be taken out of production and that the development should only be considered on a brownfield site.

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In an objection to the application, James and Emmeline Winterbotham, of Reydon Hall, describe the project as “an insensitive development that is out of scale with the environment”.

Simon Amstutz, planning and development officer for Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB, has also objected to the scheme.

He says the conservation body does not agree that the “significant industrial scale” development will have a “neutral impact on the landscape character”.

The Southwold and Reydon Society has conducted a survey of some of its members over the plans. Society spokesman John Perkins said that so far, opinions appeared to be split.

AEE Renewables is a German firm which established a presence in Britain in 2010, by setting up offices in London and Bath.

In its submission to Waveney District Council, AEE Renewables says that the “site has been identified as being discreet and self contained”.

The company has proposed planting new hedgerows to screen the site, which would be surrounded by a two-metre high, barbed wire-topped deer fence, and says the proposals were likely to have a “neutral effect on the AONB character”.

No date has been set by Waveney District Council for discussion of the proposals.

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