Solar farm planned for land owned by MP’s family
12:21 19 November 2012
Archant © 2011
Land belonging to a Suffolk MP’s family could be turned into a massive solar farm.
Proposals submitted to Waveney District Council include details for a 24.6- hectare solar park to be built on farmland to the north east of Chediston, near Halesworth.
Approval of Solarcentury’s plans, which have attracted mixed reactions from neighbouring properties, would see the construction of rows of solar panels capable of generating 12.3MW of power.
Waveney MP Peter Aldous, whose family owns the site adjoining Bonners Farm, confirmed that Solarcentury had approached them to inquire if the land could be leased to them for the purpose of cultivating renewable energy.
He added: “We as a family had to make a decision about whether we went along with it. We decided it was appropriate to do so.”
Mr Aldous said an “option agreement” had been signed, meaning Solarcentury will pay for the application and if successful take out a lease of up to 25 years on the land.
According to documents, for the so-called Chediston Hall Solar Park, scores of solar panels will be mounted on “tables” with a front height of 60cm and a back height of up to 220cm and run in a linear pattern across fields.
Hedgerows would be planted and grass and wild flowers allowed to grow, to be mowed back twice a year to protect the panels.
The document states: “The proposed solar park is intended to have limited visual impact, as the existing and enhanced boundary planting will effectively hide the development from view. It will therefore have a minimal impact on the wider countryside and landscape in the area.”
The plans reveal that construction of the solar park would entail 384 movements on the site by lorries over about six weeks of the building process.
In consultations, one neighbour had voiced concern that views of the countryside would be removed and it could be “detrimental” to the value of the property.
Joanna Wareham of Herne Hill Farm, who owns fields immediately south of the site, said she was “wholly in favour of renewable energy” but would like to see 23 hedge trees safeguarded. Mr Aldous said the “option agreement” meant he was unable to discuss the planning application.