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Yelverton villagers oppose bid for solar farm that could power 2,000 homes

PUBLISHED: 06:30 23 August 2014

Concerned Yelverton residents who don't want to see the open countryside near their village having a huge solar farm on. Photo: Steve Adams

Concerned Yelverton residents who don't want to see the open countryside near their village having a huge solar farm on. Photo: Steve Adams

A vision for a 40-acre solar farm in a sleepy south Norfolk village has been met with fierce opposition from residents.

Concerned Yelverton residents who don't want to see the open countryside near their village having a huge solar farm on. Photo: Steve Adams Concerned Yelverton residents who don't want to see the open countryside near their village having a huge solar farm on. Photo: Steve Adams

Applicant Lightsource Renewable Energy has lodged plans with South Norfolk District Council to build a 7.31MW facility at Avenue Farm, Yelverton.

While almost 30,000 panels would power more than 2,000 typical homes, residents are vehemently against it.

Richard Sapey, of Drains Lane, Yelverton, said: “These things are spreading like a rash across Norfolk.

“The site is in the village and it’s right against residential houses.

Concerned Yelverton residents who don't want to see the open countryside near their village having a huge solar Richard Sapey, left and Roger Brown near the test piles that will support the panelsfarm on. Photo: Steve Adams Concerned Yelverton residents who don't want to see the open countryside near their village having a huge solar Richard Sapey, left and Roger Brown near the test piles that will support the panelsfarm on. Photo: Steve Adams

“We’ve seen this land cropped with potatoes, sugar beet and maize.

“I think it’s very controversial.”

The 77-year-old retired builder added that he felt traffic would be dangerous during the build phase, its appearance would be unsuitable and the land should be given an agricultural use.

But Conor McGuigan, planning and development director at Lightsource, said the firm had listened and reacted to concerns.

“Together with landscape architects and ecologists, our planning team has put together a considerable landscaping and biodiversity plan to minimise views into the site and to strengthen local wildlife habitats,” he said. “The site will also become home to a flock of sheep to ensure that the site will continues to have an agricultural use.”

He added a thorough analysis found no suitable alternative local sites.

The solar farm would not be the largest in the county, with a 72-acre facility already built off Nova Scotia Road, Caister, and a bid to build a 250-acre solar farm at the former RAF Coltishall airbase ongoing.

The Yelverton application is set to be decided next month.

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