Winston Green: One of the largest solar farms in the UK could be built in a Suffolk village

A solar farm

A solar farm - Credit: ANDY MCGILL

ONE of the biggest solar farms in the country could be built in a Suffolk village, it has been revealed.

The land in Winston Green, near Debenham, has been earmarked for a new 100 acre solar farm which would have the potential to provide electricity for 6,000 homes.

Planners at Savills have put forward the initial proposals on behalf of energy company Solarcentury to Mid Suffolk District Council.

The 21-megawatt farm would be built on land to the west of Bakers Lane and would follow several large solar farm proposals across Suffolk including sites in Parham, Tattingstone and near Felixstowe.

Claire Frost, a planner for Savills, said: “Should the proposal be submitted as a planning application, permission would be sought for a period of 25 years, after which it would return to an agricultural use.

“The final layout has not yet been selected and various specialist consultants are being appointed to consider landscape, ecological and other such issues to ensure a high quality and appropriate scheme. The intention at this stage is to submit the planning application this summer.”

Phil Tempest, chair of Winston Parish Council, said: “We will be asked for our views for something of this size, I would have thought. We will ask for comments from the local parishioners.”

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He said the council would look to discuss the proposals at the earliest opportunity after contact with Mid Suffolk.

A landscape officer for Mid Suffolk said he had concerns over the “visual effect” of the proposed solar farm on the arable farming land on which it would be built.

Particular concerns were raised by the officer over the impact of the “unacceptable” security fencing.

Solarcentury has said that ground-based solar parks have “very little impact” either visually or environmentally and can be easily screened by hedges and trees.

The ground-mounted solar panels would be installed on the land, which measures about 106 acres (43 hectares).

The panels would be up to 2.5metres high and would be attached to the ground without the need for any foundations.

Savills has said few new buildings would be needed on the site, with the highest expected to be around 4.5metres. Meadow grassland would be planted below the panels.