December 7 2013 Latest news:
Andrew Fitchett, Reporter
Thursday, September 26, 2013
A village protest group appears to have won the first battle in a fight against plans for a 174-acre solar farm after an application for planning permission was withdrawn by developers at the eleventh hour.
Bridgham residents have been fighting plans for the installation - intended for land at Hall Farm and Field Barn Farm - since June.
The heated battle over the site appeared to be coming to an end, with Breckland Council’s Planning Committee due to make a decision on the scheme this coming Monday.
But developers REthink Energy Ltd have instead decided to put a pin in proceedings, following a recommendation by council officers to its planning committee to refuse the plans.
Joel Tomlinson, director, said: “As part of its ongoing consultation and engagement at different levels within the local community, REthink Energy has elected to withdraw its application to further address concerns raised in the planning officers report.
“We are determined to create an Eco-Park that addresses the legitimate concerns of all stakeholders and we believe that the substantive changes we will make will demonstrate this.
“We remain 100 per cent committed to the delivery of the Hall Farm Eco-Park and of the environmental benefits it will offer. The park will be a green wildlife refuge that will both improve local biodiversity and generate clean electricity for the community.”
Sustained pressure had been on the proposals, with objections not only raised by villagers, but by local MP Elizabeth Truss.
But Mike Brown, part of the residents’ campaign to fight the plans, said he hoped the company would listen to villagers’ fears and withdraw the application entirely.
“If they have withdrawn the plans, then clearly they have listened to our MP, to the planning officers and perhaps most importantly, the feelings of the residents of the village.
“If it’s withdrawn completely then they will have my respect for doing the honourable thing,” he said.