Councillors reject solar farm plan for Ingham

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Councillors today rejected plans for a solar farm at Ingham.

The plans for the 37 hectare facility were due to be given the go-ahead despite concerns it could lead to ‘the industrialisation’ of a large part of the countryside.

Gamma Solar Ltd wanted to place 108,000 solar panels on farmland north west of Thetford Road, Ingham, which would generate 26,100MWh of electricity annually – sufficient for 5,520 homes – and operate for 30 years.

The plans, which include 20 inverter buildings, were amended twice to set the array of panels back from Culford Road and feature more landscape screening.

Ingham and Culford, West Stow and Wordwell parish councils objected with Ingham citing a ‘visual intrusion/eyesore on the village’ as well as the ‘industrialisation of a huge swath of countryside’.

St Edmundsbury Borough Council received 63 letters opposing the plan, 18 in support and a petition against with 201 names. Those in support said the solar farm would have ‘less visual impact than a wind farm’ and was a ‘safe power’.

Officers had recommended the plan for approval, noting that proposed planting will reduce any potential visual impacts over time.

Councillors voted 12-3 against the scheme at this morning’s development control meeting.