Village solar farm approved despite objections

A map of where the new solar far will be in SuffolkImage source, Alpaca Communications/BSR Energy
Image caption,

The solar farm will be built near Woodbridge in Suffolk

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Proposals for nearly 40,000 solar panels in a Suffolk village have been approved despite objections.

British Solar Renewables wants to build on 37 hectares of land at Park Farm off Loudham Hall Road in Pettistree, near Woodbridge.

East Suffolk Council's planning committee approved the plan at a meeting, external on Tuesday, subject to conditions.

One Conservative committee member said "unless we do something soon" climate change would be "permanent for us all".

Pettistree, Wickham Market, Ufford, and Campsea Ash parish councils had all submitted formal objections.

Councillors heard from Will Harrison, manager at the Loudham Hall estate, who argued the plans were too overbearing and left little space between the panels and surrounding historical buildings.

Susan Jones, chairwoman at Pettistree parish council, said that while the council supported solar, the project was not in the right place, reported the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

The company’s development manager, Carla Hardaker, stressed the proposals would create enough energy to power 5,251 homes, save 4,651 tonnes of CO2 every year, but also would lead to a biodiversity net gain.

Image source, Google
Image caption,

The solar farm will be built on a site off Loudham Hall Road near Woodbridge

Committee member Tom Daly, from the Green Party, argued the impacts on residents would not be much different from that of industrial farming in the area.

"As a council we want to promote green energy so it's very important we support solar initiatives, but we are also very keen on protecting our landscapes," he said.

Fellow committee member Colin Hedgley, Conservative, said: "Yes, it might be to the detriment of the overall landscape to a certain extent, but unless we do something soon, big time, [climate change] will be permanent for us all."

However, Labour councillor Rosie Smithson said: "It's really upsetting that we are losing agricultural land and decimating a countryside."

Three councillors voted in favour, three against and two abstained - meaning Liberal Democrat and committee chairman Mark Packard had the final say and voted in favour.

The developer has three years to start work on the site.

The solar panels are expected to remain in situ for a further 40 years, at which point they must be removed and the site restored back to agricultural use.

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