Plans for 12 megawatt solar farm in Soham are approved

Published: Thursday, 2nd October 2014

The solar farm will be built at the Trianlge Farm in Soham

By Jordan Day of the Ely Weekly News

The proposals to erect 50,000 solar panels on land at Triangle Farm, Angle Common, were approved by East Cambridgeshire District Council's planning committee on 1 October 2014.

Plans to build the 12 megawatt solar farm have been in the pipeline for some time, and Cambridgeshire County Council applied to the district council for formal planning permission in August 2014.

The committee heard that Soham Town Council had "raised concerns over the loss of agricultural land and the benefits to Soham residents" and that members thought " an appropriate Section 106 agreement that benefits the town is essential".

English Heritage, Natural England and English Heritage expressed no concerns over the proposals and the district council's conservation officer said: "The site is located at a sufficient distance and is well screened by existing and proposed landscaping that there will be minimal impact on the wider setting of the heritage assets."

The officer added: "The nature of the development, combined with the existing topography and landscaping will result in no harm being caused to the significance of the designated heritage assets."

In a statement, the council's agents, Savills Ltd, said: "The proposed development will generate a peak capacity of 12 megawatts of electricity and will consist of approximately 50,000 individual panels usually set within frames of 40, which will cover an area of approximately 26 hectares.

"The installation is forecast to produce enough electricity to power approximately 3,150 homes per year.

"The site is currently agricultural land, all of which is Grade 3. Areas between the panels will be grazed by sheep, providing the additional benefit of ongoing agricultural activity at the site."

Now that the plans have been approved, subject to conditions, the solar farm will be in operation for the next 25 years.

The spokesman said: "After the initial 25-year period, the site will either be decommissioned or returned to agricultural use, or permission will be sought to extend the life of the site for a further number of years."