Solar farm plans for village

BIG PLANS: OST Energy wants permission for solar panels at Rogers Farm in Newton.
BIG PLANS: OST Energy wants permission for solar panels at Rogers Farm in Newton.

Plans for a 64-acre solar panel farm in Newton which could provide electricity for more than 3,300 homes have been submitted.

OST Energy, based in Brighton, is behind the plans for land at Rogers Farm in Rogers Lane, belonging to Steven and John Taylor, brother and father of Newton parish councillor Philip Taylor.

Mr Taylor said the land is currently used to grow wheat and sugarbeet and explained that, although it is his family’s land, he was not involved in the application.

The plans state that: “The unoccupied ground between rows of panels and under the panels will be seeded to produce a wildflower meadow and grassland area.

“Following the completion of a proposed development, farming activities such as the grazing of sheep and keeping of pheasants and beehives can continue to co-exist with the solar arrays.”

The land is graded as 3A, the third-highest yielding type. OST Energy could not be reached for a comment at the time of going to press.

The company’s application states that the development, which is a 25-year temporary plan, would be partially visible from a footpath and properties one kilometre north-west of the site.

“It is proposed to include some additional planting of the hedgerows around the site, ensuring that any gaps are filled, while thickening the existing hedge where appropriate,” the application states.

Babergh District Council recommended that an environmental impact assessment would not be needed with the application as the development “would not have a significant impact on the environment” or “give rise to a level of activity that would be incompatible with the amenities of the locality”.

James Cartlidge, district councillor, said: “I have received the documents and I am going to be studying them in detail.”

Newton Parish Council will review the application on November 13 and a decision from Babergh District Council is expected by December 20.