Revised plan for Ingham solar farm moves solar panels ‘out of sight’

The proposed new site for a solar farm at Ingham is further away from Culford Road (Google Maps) ANL-160305-113628001
The proposed new site for a solar farm at Ingham is further away from Culford Road (Google Maps) ANL-160305-113628001
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A new planning application has been made for a solar farm near Ingham near a site on which a larger installation was refused because of its visual impact.

The new application from Solafields is for a 19 hectare, 14.2MW installation of 57,000 solar panels to the north of the original site of Culford Road.

The plan for Ingham solar farm that was refused, with Culford road running along the bottom ENGANL00120131126115452

The plan for Ingham solar farm that was refused, with Culford road running along the bottom ENGANL00120131126115452

Solafields, who held a public consultation in the village in May, point out that where the original plan for a 26MW solar farm was only 60 metres from Culford Road, the new one is 1.3km away, over the brow of a hill.

St Edmundsbury rejected the previous plan because it felt the scheme visual impact would be too great.

In refusing a planning appeal in September 2014, the inspector said: “The proposal would harm the character and appearance of the Estate Sandlands landscape area and its visual amenity and the proposed mitigation planting would be of only limited benefit during the latter part of the proposed 30 year life of the development.”

Solafields’ new application says it responds to issues raised by the inspector.

It adds: “The proposed solar farm is over the brow of the slope from Culford Road and properties in Ingham, effectively placing it ourt of sight.

“In addition, the proposal is behind a small copse and a recently planted field boundary hedgerow.”

It says the site can be accessed via existing farm tracks.

Before the consultation Mark Candlish, from Solafields, said: “As well as providing clean renewable energy, the solar farm could deliver many local benefits, such as financial contributions to local projects, biodiversity enhancements and jobs.”

The plan can be seen and commented on at https://planning.westsuffolk.gov.uk/online-applications