Eco-energy proposal for park

West Stow Anglo Saxon Village and County Park has been proposed as the site for 210 solar panels.

St Edmundsbury Borough Council has submitted a planning application for the solar panels to be placed 100-150m from the Anglo Saxon village on an area that has previously been used as a landfill site.

St Edmundsbury Borough Council heritage manager Alan Baxter said the proposed site was on a hill which faced away from the Anglo Saxon Village and was the right angle and direction to maximise the sun.

He said: “It will not be completely hidden – if you are walking on the other side you will be able to see it.

“The site has been chosen to have the least visual impact.”

In letters submitted to St Edmundsbury Borough Council during a consultation period held in December, both the Archaeological Service and Culford, Wordwell and West Stow Parish Council expressed concerns about the visual impact of the proposal.

The Archaeological Service said: “The application has the potential to create a detrimental visual impact on the setting of the Anglo Saxon Village.

“From within the village the impression of isolation and a rural landscape is achieved.

“We are concerned that the setting of an important heritage asset will be substantially harmed by the location of a photovoltaic installation that outweighs the public benefit of the scheme.”

The application proposes that the solar panels be installed on ground level metal supports at a 30 degree angle and for the site to be surrounded by a 2.4 metre high green mesh fence.

Each panel will measure 1,640mm x 992mm x 45mm.

St Edmundsbury Borough Council has installed solar panels on several of its sites since the cabinet decided that up to £410,000 be released for renewable energy projects in December 2010.

Power generated by the solar panels would be used by the park to reduce energy costs.