Bid for solar farm at Bodham as new one takes shape at Northrepps near Cromer

Site manager Huub van Boven at the solar farm taking shape just outside Cromer .

Site manager Huub van Boven at the solar farm taking shape just outside Cromer . PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

The firm behind a controversial north Norfolk wind turbine is seeking to install more than 15,000 solar panels at the same location.

And the planning move at Bodham comes as a larger solar farm takes shape on the edge of Cromer, ready to switch on before Christmas.

Genetec caused a stir by bidding for the 86.5m turbine at Pond Farm, Bodham - a move that was rejected by North Norfolk District Council but then agreed by a planning inspector at appeal earlier this year.

NNDC is now challenging the decision by the inspector at the High Court, with a full-day hearing lined up on January 22 next year.

With that issue still to finally be resolved, Genetec is now seeking to construct the 3.6mw solar array at Pond Farm, on an eight hectare site.

Like the turbine, the solar array proposal, which will be decided by a planning committee today, has split opinion, with the council receiving letters of objections and support.

Objectors cite issues ranging from the loss of farmland to 'industrialisation' of the landscape.

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Supporters say it helps with renewable energy and farm diversification.

Officers are recommending it is approved, subject to conditions.

The scheme under construction at Northrepps is much larger - at 11mw and 43,000 panels on 26 hectares (32 football pitches), and providing enough power for 2,500 homes.

Site manager Huub van Boven, from power company Oskomera, said the panels, currently 40pc complete, would be finished by November 6 ready for a December 21 switch on. Work was also under way laying three miles of underground cabling to connect with the National Grid.

Mr van Boven said solar farms were more acceptable than wind turbines to neighbours, because they were silent and screened by hedges.

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