Norfolk seaside holiday park battles Shell over solar panel plans

Bacton gas terminal from the air. Picture; MIKE PAGE

Bacton gas terminal from the air. Picture; MIKE PAGE - Credit: Archant

A holiday park has hit out at plans by fuel giant Shell that would see a series of solar panels built just metres away from their premises.

Anna Hollis, who owns Castaways Holiday Park in Bacton, says plans to expand Bacton Gas Terminal would block visitors' views of the countryside, damage feeding areas for local wildlife and present concerns over safety.

Ms Hollis also says she was promised by Shell that the field to the east of the site, known as Seagull's Field, would remain untouched as a "buffer zone" between the terminal and the village.

Castaways Holiday Park in Bacton. Picture: James Bass

Castaways Holiday Park in Bacton. Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2011

Shell applied to North Norfolk District Council on July 8 to install ground mounted solar panels with associated infrastructure in the field to generate renewable energy for the terminal.

Ms Hollis said: "We're only about 100 metres away from Bacton Gas Terminal, the plans Shell have proposed are for a solar farm to be built on the field next door with high fences surrounding it.

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"We have a number of concerns about it and we're not the only people."

Ms Hollis said: "There's bad feeling in the village, because of the wildlife that feeds from that land, such as rabbits and insects, but most importantly protected bats from Paston Barn that feed from the land.

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"It's highly concerning, not only on the detriment to our business by having a monstrosity in the field next door, we're also concerned about the safety aspect after the explosion in 2008.

"If that happened again with solar panels on the field it would be catastrophic.

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Could the Bacton site and Southern North Sea play a role in hydrogen production? - Credit: Archant

"We've had a really good relationship with Shell over the years, but now we're in a position where we think it'll be detrimental to our businesses and guests who come here because they like the fact it's a quiet area with open fields.

"Many decades ago our holiday park was here before the terminal and we have been told that the field is the buffer zone to the village and it was promised to the village that the field wouldn't be touched." 

So far plans have seen three objections from residents including Castaways Holiday Park.

Another public objector said: "You have the terminal being a blot on the landscape, please don't take this area away, leave it for people to enjoy."

A Shell spokesperson said: “Our plans would be a small but important step to help self-generate electricity for the terminal direct from a renewable energy supply. 

"We understand that people may have concerns which is why we have been talking to our neighbours to address any concerns and questions people may have, and to explain why we believe it is critical to help decarbonise the terminal."

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