December 5 2013 Latest news:
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Proposals for one of the largest solar farms in the UK on an old air field near Fakenham have been submitted by developers.
Good Energy has sent a planning application to North Norfolk District Council for a 49.9MW solar farm, covering approximately 225 acres, on the former RAF site at West Raynham.
The company claims this would generate enough electricity to supply around 11,287 homes.
West Raynham residents who spoke to the EDP were all in favour of the project.
The Raynhams Parish Council chairman David Sidell said: “In the past there has been proposals for a wind farm and a prison and I think a solar farm is a much more favourable option.
“It would be putting land which is contaminated and no good for farming to good use and it is out of the way from homes.”
West Raynham resident John Reed said: “It’s a good idea and it won’t do anyone any harm. It will be making good use of this land and the more ways of generating power without having to pay for gas and oil the better.”
Village resident Ivy Andrews said: “This is the best of all the renewable energy options and if there is community money to be shared around I’m sure the village hall and church would happily accept it.”
Francoise Walker, who lives in West Raynham, said: “I approve and prefer it to wind power.”
If planning permission is granted later this year, construction could start early next year.
The solar panels would be installed on the former runway area and surrounding land owned by the Raynham Estate. Good Energy said the land is well screened from the nearest residential properties and the surrounding countryside.
The company is proposing to create new wildlife habitats alongside the solar panels.
The proposed solar farm has been designed with the panels mounted in rows roughly seven metres apart and around 90cm above the ground, enabling sheep to graze among the panels and helping to manage the land with minimal use of herbicides and other chemicals.
If plans are approved Good Energy has proposed to offer funding towards a new children’s playground at The Kiptons, a growing community on the edge of the airfield, a contribution towards the West Raynham Memorial Campaign to help create a permanent memorial to all those who served at Royal Air Force West Raynham from 1939 to 1994 and support for a new outdoor learning programme centred on an area of woodland close to West Raynham Primary School.
Annual contributions of £25,000 for the 30-year lifetime of the solar farm would go towards a community fund.