National Grid – East Anglia Green

Following quickly behind the statutory consultation on the upgrades to the Bramford to Twinstead pylon line, National Grid have now announced plans for a new 400kV line from Norwich to Tilbury, the project to be known as East Anglia Green. The line will pass through Bramford before heading south through the Dedham Vale AONB to Essex. Preliminary reading of the details provided indicate an intention to underground only the stretch that passes through the AONB.

Details of SPS’s preliminary position on East Anglia GREEN are available here.

Commercial solar farm applications

Badley Hall – solar farm. SPS has strongly objected to proposals for a 56 hectare solar farm at Badley Hall to the north of Needham Market. The site is directly to the north of Badley Church Green Conservation Area which contains a grouping of heritage assets including St Mary’s Church (grade I), Badley Hall (grade II*), barn (grade II*) and dovecote (grade II) and a designed landscaped approach which passes between Keyfield Groves, remnants of ancient woodland. Notwithstanding the pylon lines passing overhead, it is a timeless location which is otherwise untouched by modern day development and only accessible by those using the PROW network.  In the event that the local planning authority is minded to support the application SPS has called for effective mitigation to reduce the impact on the conservation area and users of the footpaths including a significantly more generous planted buffer and set back of the removal of one section of the site.

Statkraft solar farm: SPS has also submitted an objection to plans for a 60 hectare solar installation on agricultural land between the villages of Bramford, Little Blakenham, Somersham, Burstall and Flowton. We are increasingly concerned about the cumulative impacts of three schemes currently under consideration (from EDF, ENSO as well as Statkraft) which will fundamentally affect the sense of place of this area, from an ancient rolling valley landscape to an industrialised one. The sequential views for users of the public right of way network will be devastated. This is a commercial, rather than decentralized or community solar scheme.  The site has not been positively identified by the local authority as suitable for commercial solar, nor is it in accordance with any identified policy-based criteria for landscape capacity led renewable energy development. The scheme involves a significant loss of productive agricultural land and will result in a high level of less than substantial harm to a number of designated heritage assets.

St Peter’s Hall

Development at St Peter’s Brewery – SPS has reviewed plans for a large industrial building at St Peter’s Brewery at Elham St Peter. We recognise the contribution that the brewery makes to the local economy as a high quality, artisan food producer and welcome the investment in this local business. The proposed rationalization of the existing brewery within a new and larger structure may arguably enhance to the setting of St Peter’s Hall and farmyard and the inclusion of solar panels on the roof sets a positive and sustainable example of a responsible approach to the climate emergency. However, the local landscape is characterised by its high and open aspect, with very few nearby structures or landscape features. As a result, grade II* listed St Peter’s Hall appears as quite an isolated structure, which, together with the church, dominates the landscape. The proposed building is 10m high, 41m long and 31m wide and we have therefore raised concerns about the scale of the building and questioned whether an alternative site should be sought if the impacts of the development cannot be effectively mitigated.

Media coverage:

East Anglian Daily Times, Director’s column:

There is no need for industrialisation which is threatening our countryside

(27 April 2022)

SPS events:

The SPS Summer garden party and AGM

This will take place on 10 June at Gothic Farmhouse, Heveningham.  

Please come along – all Members welcome.

Details and how to book for the AGM and other SPS events are available here.