Neatishead solar energy scheme plans set to be put under spotlight

Plans for a solar energy scheme to be built on the site of a former radar station in north Norfolk are set to be put under the spotlight by councillors later this week.

It is estimated the project, to build a photovoltaic array, a linked collection of solar panels, at RAF Neatishead, could generate power for 1,000 homes.

The plans, which have been recommended for approval by planning officers, are set to be discussed by North Norfolk District Council's development control committee on Thursday .

PV Farms, the company behind the solar energy project have said though it is a race against time to get the plans approved before government incentives for renewable energy are withdrawn.

The solar farm would cover an area of approximately 3.5 hectares on the RAF Neatishead site, which is in total 12.9 hectares.

It would accommodate between 6,500 and 7,000 panels which would generate between 1.5mw and 1.75mw of electricity.

The panels are designed to absorb sunlight for conversion to electricity which is then given back to the National Grid.

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The equipment would have a working life of 25 years.

Neatishead Parish Council have objected to the plans stating the impact it would have on the rural landscape and nearby houses. One letter of objection has also been received from a local resident raising fears about the visual impact.

English Heritage had also raised concerns about the plans and the impact it would have on the number of heritage assets within the compound of the former RAF Radar Station.

In a report set to be handed to councillors at the meeting on Thursday, English Heritage state: 'The assets are of national importance and in some cases have international significance. We are also concerned that this development would restrict options for future economic use of the site.'

However, PV Farms has submitted amended plans which the council's conservation, design and landscape manager said helped achieve a balance between the amount of PV installations and the historic environment.

Planning officers also state: 'The revised scheme is considered to represent a compromise, balancing the economic feasibility of the scheme against the impact on the historic environment and landscape character.'

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