£3 million solar farm plan for Snettisham backed

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More than 30,000 solar panels could be installed on farm land close to Snettisham if new multi-million pound proposals are given the go-ahead by councillors.

Developers Solar Associates are seeking permission to develop a six hectare site on Bircham Road, to the east of the village.

And members of the West Norfolk Council planning committee have been urged to approve the scheme when they meet in Lynn on Monday.

Officers reported: “The wider public benefits of the proposal are considered to outweigh any harm.”

The plan, which is expected to cost around £3 million to complete, is one of five projects currently being developed by the Hertfordshire-based company.

They hope that the site could be operational by the summer if the scheme is approved.

Managers say the farm, which is expected to contain 31,200 modules, would generate enough electricity to power the equivalent of 870 homes, around 60 per cent of the homes in Snettisham.

The application has been supported by the village’s parish council, although it has sought assurances that the land will be returned to agricultural use when the solar farm reaches the end of its operational life.

Previous solar farm schemes in West Norfolk have also caused controversy because of concerns that the panels take up valuable farm land. However, the developers say this site is comprised of lower grade land.

Meanwhile, English Heritage has also raised concerns about the potential impact of the scheme on the nearby Church of St Mary, a grade one listed building.

And one of two letters of objection suggested an industrial site, such as the old Tank Farm site on Edward Benefer Way, North Lynn, should be used instead.

But the report said plans for vehicles serving the site to travel past the village’s primary school had already been changed in response to public concerns.

The developers also insist the site is suitable, because of its close proximity to an electrical substation.

And the company has also pledged to contribute towards the cost of an LED street lighting programme which is being developed by the parish council.