Opponents’ disappointment at approval for solar farm near south Norfolk village

Concerned Yelverton residents who don't want to see the open countryside near their village hosting

Concerned Yelverton residents who don't want to see the open countryside near their village hosting a huge solar farm.

Opponents of a new 40-acre solar farm have spoken of their disappointment after councillors approved the proposal despite hearing fears about the impact on a sleepy village.

South Norfolk Council's development management committee gave applicant Lightsource Renewable Energy the go ahead to build the 7.31MW facility at Avenue Farm, Yelverton despite hearing residents were considering using human rights legislation to challenge any approval on the grounds of invasion of privacy.

Following the meeting, Ingo Wageknecht, who lives in Bramerton Lane, Rockland St Mary, said he would be able to see the 'glinting' solar panels from his home.

He added: 'It is a disappointing decision. The democratic deficit was palpable.'

The plans have been called in by the government, which will make the final decision and Mr Wageknecht hoped the decision would be to refuse.

Earlier, the meeting heard objectors' concerns the panels would be sited on farmland that could still be used for agricultural purposes, while an entrance onto the A146 was also questioned on the grounds there had been a number of fatal accidents in that area.

A proposed hedge alongside the site would take too long to establish, opponents claimed, resulting in the panels being seen from the A146 and neighbouring footpaths.

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CCTV will also be installed to keep watch over the fence surrounding the site, which sparked fears there would be a loss of privacy for nearby residents.

Opponent Richard Sapey said: 'The relatively small supply of electricity could not justify this cynical, misguided and self-serving application.'

However, Jessica Gittoes, of Lightsource Renewable Energy, said the plan aimed to integrate the solar farm into the landscape without causing any long term harm to the character of the local area, which included planting trees around the site.

She added the development would not disrupt the footpath and would be screened from the footpath and the A146.

There will be almost 30,000 panels providing power to more than 2,000 typical homes and the plans were approved by a majority of seven councillors to four.

Are there any benefits from having solar farms in the countryside? Email dominic.bareham@archant.co.uk.