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Local Residents Fight Plans To Build Solar Park

Local families are objecting to plans to build a solar panels farm on land at Hoveton, Norfolk that is only a 5 minute walk from the Norfolk Broads partly on the basis that the tourism trade would be hurt that currently brings in £2.5 million each year.

The beautiful Norfolk Broads
(image credit: MiqsPix )

The planned installation of 57,000 panels would cover a vast area amounting to 73 acres of top quality arable land- that equates to 43 football pitches. The panels would be capable of providing power for about 2,600 households.

Norman Evans, who is the chairman of Belaugh Parish Council, with the help of the National Farmers Union, has been looking into the grading of the farm land on which the proposed site would be and claims 98 per cent of the land is grade three not grade two.

Mr Evans made reference to the fact that Belaugh happens to be a conservation village and at the recent meeting of the parish council 59% of residents were not in favour of the proposed development.

He stated: “Wroxham is not just the gateway to the broads it is the centre. The tourist industry in that area is worth £2.5 million a year. The tourist industry is predicting a great short fall – not only because the site cuts across two footpaths – but because it will have a big visual impact on tourists.”

Mr Evans made it clear that they are not against the use of solar panels, as they have been placed elsewhere in the village, but the size of the proposed development is a problem and the fact that it would be built on top quality farmland. He also pointed out that there are a number of brown field sites located in East Anglia that would be more suitable for solar panel farms.

On 18th October 2012 the proposal was submitted to Broadland district council and North Norfolk district council because the site would cross over both district council boundaries. The proposal should be placed before the councils’ planning committees in early 2013.

The Norfolk Broads National Park happens to be the largest area of protected wetland in the UK and it is also the third biggest inland waterway.

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