Residents have been left upset by the approval of a 200-acre solar farm in a Suffolk village.

A farm the size of around 170 football pitches was approved for the village of Palgrave, near Diss, during Mid Suffolk District Council’s planning committee meeting earlier this month.

The committee voted seven to one in the meeting to approve the plans, for Grange Farm on Old Bury Road.

The plans, submitted by Pathfinder Clean Energy (PACE), involve a development of over 90 hectares, or more than 220 acres.

Caroline Emeny, clerk of Palgrave Parish Council, said: "There are obviously some members of the village who are not against it but the parish council is very upset.

"We are not against solar farms at all, but they should be on brownfield sites.

"It is a shame because we live here and we love Suffolk. Suffolk is a beautiful area but it will just be covered in silicon."

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Leader of Mid Suffolk District Council, councillor Andy Mellen, wrote in his column in September that government policy is "tilted heavily" in favour of approving large solar applications, which undermines local decision making.

Cllr Mellen added: "This leaves the council bearing the brunt of residents’ ire, when really they should be lobbying their MP.

"We need a strategic, joined up plan at national level that balances energy development and food production, and that doesn’t industrialise the countryside."

Eastern Daily Press: Councillor Andy MellenCouncillor Andy Mellen (Image: Jason Noble/LDRS)

A council spokesperson added that it is calling on the government to provide a clear national framework to help councils find the right balance between delivering renewable energy, food production, and protecting the countryside.

Alex Ross, director of PACE, said: “Mid Suffolk District Council has rightly declared a climate emergency and set ambitious targets in their carbon reduction management plan.

"We are proud that our proposals support these ambitions.

"Grange Solar will make a significant contribution driving down our energy prices by increasing our supply of cheap, renewable energy here in the UK and reducing our dependence on foreign oil and gas.”