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Solar farm ‘blocking King John treasure quest’ claim



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A metal detectorist has claimed an energy firm is barring him from searching for King John’s lost treasure because of its plans for a new solar farm.

Martin Morris believes EDF Renewables (EDF R) are refusing access to the land at Sutton Bridge because they fear their scheme will not proceed if historic items are found there.

But the company insists it has tried to accommodate his interests, without agreement.

Martin Morris, who styles himself as Metal Detector Man, says he is being stopped from accessing the land where he believes King John's lost treasure is located (56210056)
Martin Morris, who styles himself as Metal Detector Man, says he is being stopped from accessing the land where he believes King John's lost treasure is located (56210056)

Permission for a solar farm near the Sutton Bridge Power Station, which EDF R claims could provide power for more than 16,000 homes, was granted by South Holland Council last year. Early stage works are now underway.

Mr Morris, who styles himself as Metal Detector Man, said his interest in the land dates back more than a decade after he found an object connected to Queen Matilda at King John Bank.

He believes he knows where the haul lies and says he signed a licence agreement with EDF R allowing access to the land – a claim the company disputes – before being barred from it last autumn.

Sutton Bridge Power Station... (41268360)
Sutton Bridge Power Station... (41268360)

An extract of a letter from that period, seen by the Lynn News, said it was “just not possible” to allow access because of the development.

But Mr Morris, of Gedney, near Long Sutton, said this week: “The reason they’re not letting me on the field is if I find anything, it becomes a heritage site and they won’t be able to build a solar farm.”

He says he has shared information with the company and fears they might take the credit if the haul is found later.

He said: “If we don’t look for it, we won’t find it.”

King John is commemorated with a statue in Lynn town centre, but the mystery of where his treasure ended up remains unsolved.
King John is commemorated with a statue in Lynn town centre, but the mystery of where his treasure ended up remains unsolved.

But EDF R’s head of development, Darren Cuming, said: “EDF has previously offered access to a metal detectorist at the Sutton Bridge site on the basis it was made clear which area was to be investigated and with the correct paperwork being completed and provided within the required timescale. However, these requirements were not met.

“Before planning consent was granted, we carried out a cultural heritage assessment and complied with all other planning requirements to ensure the site was suitable for development.

“Sutton Bridge is a great site for solar as it is suitably sunny and will provide low carbon renewable electricity for more than 16,000 homes every year. It is a critical part of building the UK’s energy security and reaching net zero.”

The company also claims its plans were “widely consulted upon” before permission was granted.

Heritage groups such as Historic England also raised no objections to the application at the time.



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