Solar power plan slammed as having 'no respect' for sensitive West Norfolk lands
Plans for a solar power installation on the northern edge of Lynn show "no respect" for the surrounding area, an environmental group has claimed.
Borough councillors have been advised to back the scheme for land off Edward Benefer Way, which developers claim could provide power for more than 13,000 homes, during a planning session next week.
But the Open Spaces Society claims the plan would cause significant harm to what it describes as a "highly sensitive" location close to The Wash.
The group said: "The application seems to pay no respect, whatsoever, to its sensitive location.
"The proposed solar array, and associated infrastructure, would alter what are currently undeveloped and very largely unspoilt rural views, available from the public path, to something beyond recognition."
The society is also worried about the potential impact on walkers using sections of public footpath which pass through the area and which are thought to date back to the 17th century.
It claims the path is already being neglected and walkers would be placed at "considerable disadvantage" if the scheme is approved.
The group added: "One has to question if this really is an appropriate site for a development of this type and scale, at all, bearing in mind the severely detrimental visual impact upon publicly available views of the countryside, with their important heritage links."
The application, submitted by NS Solar 01 Limited, allows for an up to 49.99 MR Solar PV Array and circa 15 MW battery storage, plus associated infrastructure.
Reports published ahead of a borough planning committee meeting, which is due to consider the scheme next Monday, December 6, said the plan would also include "off-site cabling to connect to King’s Lynn substation (Austin Street Primary) and Recipharm [formally known as Bespak]".
The papers said the site, which lies within the parish of South Wootton, "could potentially provide power for 13,500 households every year."
And planning officials concluded: "Given the nature of the development and the fact that the development is reversible together with the site’s backdrop of the industrial estate to the south and southwest suggests the benefits of providing renewable energy outweigh any harm."
The applicant hopes to begin building work next March and construction is expected to take six months.
The report added that the installation would remain in place for 40 years before being decommissioned.