Solar farm plans look set to win approval

Latest environment news from the Suffolk Free Press,, @sfpsudbury on Twitter
Latest environment news from the Suffolk Free Press,, @sfpsudbury on Twitter

A solar farm the size of 37 football pitches in Newton is expected to be granted planning permission despite fierce opposition.

Plans have been drawn up for a 65-acre solar farm on land at Rogers Farm in Rogers Lane.

The proposals – put forward by OST Energy – would provide enough electricity for 3,300 homes and have won the support of Newton Parish Council.

Campaigners, however, have spoken out against the solar farm, which would lie between Newton Green and Edwardstone.

They fear the renewable energy scheme would ruin the countryside setting, impinge on the view of Edwardstone Church – a Grade I listed building – and is too close to woodland designated as a “site a special scientific interest”.

Singer Matt Cardle, who grew up in Little Maplestead and rose to fame as the winner of the X Factor three years ago, is among those urging people to sign an online petition against the plans for the farm, owned by Steven and John Taylor.

“It would be amazing if people could sign the petition to save the farm,” said Mr Cardle.

“There have been so many harvests and memories.”

Under the plans, land not occupied by solar panels would be seeded to produce a wildflower and grassland meadow, with sheep grazing also continued.

Paul Presland, Newton Green Parish Council chairman, said members had reviewed concerns about the solar farm and unanimously chosen to support it.

Funding from the project could be put towards solar powered Christmas lights, a vehicle-activated 30mph zone sign and making the village hall more sustainable.

The plans are due to go before Babergh District Council on Wednesday and are recommended for approval.