September 2 2014 Latest news:
Friday, March 7, 2014
Residents brandishing posters opposing solar farm plans packed into a village hall to vent their concerns to a renewable energy company.
The protestors, waving banners bearing the words “No to solar farm,” filled Bridgham Village Hall for the consultation organised by RE:think Energy, which is behind plans for a solar farm on land at Hall Farm and Field Barn Farm.
The opponents of the scheme are particularly worried about the use of farmland, the impact the solar farm would have on the environment and the visual impact for local residents of the solar panels on the 174 acre site.
They feared that although screening of the panels by hedgerows might stop views of the solar farm, it would also remove the field from view and break up the integrity of the landscape.
Other worries were that the project was primarily a money making venture and they also claimed the plans to give residents living within a mile of the farm £200 per annum for five years as part of a local electricity discount scheme masked the fact that the landowner of the site would be making £174,000 for 25 years from the farm.
Mark Dickenson, chairman of Bridgham Parish Council, said: “We just feel that it is massive and in the wrong location. We would prefer to see it on an industrial estate or on rooftops, not on farmland.
“It is a massive site within the village so why not put it on rooftops, but not on reasonably good farmland where it will look an eyesore?”
Resident Mark Rundle, of The Street, added: “It is a horrible monstrosity and we don’t want it in our countryside.”
However, Nick Sutcliffe, a spokesman for RE:think, said: “This is very low grade agricultural land and the development is in accordance with the national guidance that this is an appropriate site for this type of solar farm development.”
He added the land would continue to have an agricultural use once the farm had been developed and there would be grazing, as well as continued biodiversity on the site, including special plant mixes and wildflowers to attract butterflies, bees and other pollinators.
The developers say the farm would hold more than 144,000 solar panels and provide energy for 10,000 homes in Thetford.
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