Concerned residents stand on the edge of one of the fields which would be occupied by the 73-acre solar farm at Belaugh.  Photo: Bill Smith

Joy as three major solar farm plans are withdrawn

By Kathryn Bradley
Monday, December 24, 2012
3.47 PM

Campaigners are cautiously celebrating this week after plans for three large-scale solar farms were pulled.

Proposals for 57,000 solar panels on 73 acres of land at the gateway to the Norfolk Broads in Belaugh, near Hoveton, have been shelved along with separate schemes in Scottow and Saxthorpe.

The applicants, which all share the same London address, withdrew their applications and objectors were informed on Friday.

Norman Evans, chairman of Belaugh Parish Council, cautiously welcomed the development. He said: “The champagne is out of the freezer and in the ice bucket but we are not going to pop the cork just yet.

“The application has been withdrawn but it is possible the applicant may go away and redesign it and submit it again in a more acceptable form.”

Trafford Estate Solar Park wanted to install the panels on prime arable land off Belaugh Road. The proposed development site, which is within the boundaries of both North Norfolk and Broadland district councils, is the size of more than 36 football pitches and 300 metres north of the Broads Authority boundary.

The EDP was unable to contact the applicant before publication but Mr Evans said Broadland District Council had said in a letter that Trafford Solar Park had been advised to withdraw the proposals for Belaugh because there wasn’t enough information in the application. Saxthorpe Solar Farm has withdrawn plans for a 5.7MW solar farm on 34 acres of arable land at Strawberry Lane at Saxthorpe and Shaw Coltishall Solar Park has pulled its plans for a 12.74MW scheme on almost 70 acres of cropped farmland off Scottow Road, Scottow.

Saxthorpe and Corpusty parish councillor Tony Barnett said: “We are very pleased but cautious in the sense that we might expect similar schemes to be proposed in the future. This may well be the tip of the iceberg revealing a much bigger strategy by investors to target their plans on otherwise productive farmland when they should be going for roof tops.”

Steve Riley, who lives in Badersfield within Scottow parish, said: “It is excellent news for residents. Our view was that this was extremely unsuitable. There would have been high fencing, buildings and security cameras. It was literally turning agricultural green landscape in to industrial.”

Mr Riley said he understood the application had been withdrawn because it was missing key information.

He stressed residents weren’t against solar panels in the right place and said a petition calling for a solar farm to be built on the former Coltishall airfield containing 470 signatures had been delivered to Norfolk County Council, which owns the former airfield site.