Stratton Hall: Solar farm set to generate power for 3,000 homes

Solar power panels

Solar power panels - Credit: Robin Mews

PREPARATORY work is under way for a new solar farm on a 62-acre site alongside the A14 after the project was approved despite concerns that it could distract drivers.

The project at Stratton Hall, next to the Felixstowe-bound carriageway not far from the Brightwell turn-off, will generate enough electricity each year to supply nearly 3,000 homes.

The site – between Kirton and Levington – will house more than 47,500 free-standing solar panels, producing up to 11.6MW of electricity per annum.

Levington and Stratton Hall Parish Council did not object to the project but sent a letter voicing “serious concerns for a potential increase in the risk for accidents on the A14” for motorists coming from Felixstowe if drivers become distracted by the panels.

It called for enhanced planting around the site to screen it – and Suffolk Coastal councillors have agreed.

The parish council also expressed concern that the solar farm could be a factor supporting future industrial development at the adjoining 200-acre Innocence Farm site, or future development on more agricultural land between Felixstowe and Ipswich, along the A14 corridor – and called for assurances against development.

Suffolk Coastal head of planning Philip Ridley said: “There is a clear steer and message coming through policy documents that the presumption is in favour of development and renewable energy proposals should be enthusiastically supported in so far they do not amount to harm to the local environment or amenity of local people.”

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“The proposal will contribute towards meeting the national energy targets with the energy generated being transferred directly into the national grid. The renewable energy proposal is consistent with the district overall aim of improving sustainability and contributing towards Suffolk becoming the Greenest County.”

The solar panels would be mounted on “tables” tilted at an angle of 25 degrees and be 2.2m high.

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