Lark Energy to Develop 150-acre Solar Farm at former RAF Stradishall

A solar farm that could produce enough energy to power the total annual requirement of 7,000 homes is being proposed on the site of the old airfield at the former RAF Stradishall, Hundon.

The solar farm would occupy 150 acres and could power the equivalent of almost 70 per cent of all homes in a town the size of Haverhill for a full year with clean and renewable electricity.The proposal is part of an integrated strategy for the whole 512 acres of the old airfield site.  

Landowner, Navigator Land LLP, has created an overall plan for the site and is seeking to draw together some of the best features of contemporary rural life including; arable farming, cattle grazing, renewable energy, community access, conservation and environmental features.

Navigator Land is owned and operated by the Ryder family, farmers in and around Great Bradley. The family owned the great majority of what became RAF Stradishall (including what is now HMP Highpoint which backs onto the site) before it was requisitioned in the late 1930s. Through Navigator Land, they bought back the airfield from the MoD in 2011/12 following discussions that spanned several decades.  

Lark Energy is planning to develop the solar farm on the site which would occupy 150 acres of grassland and would be grazed by sheep. Only about 30 per cent of each acre would actually be made up of photovoltaic panels, allowing the natural wildlife and grassland to flourish.

A well-attended public consultation event was held on Thursday 21 June at Hundon Village Hall with local residents and stakeholders present.

Jo Wall, programme manager at Lark Energy, said: “The location is well-screened, with a southerly aspect and, being a former airfield, it’s relatively flat, making it ideal for a solar farm.  Navigator Land has created an exciting and integrated strategy for the whole site and is passionate about preserving and improving habitats and providing access to the public. Lark Energy shares this vision and hopes that the scheme can help contribute towards Suffolk’s ambition to be the UK’s greenest county.”

Charles Ryder, who runs Navigator Land, said: “Our integrated strategy aims to provide a productive landscape generating food and energy, while enhancing wildlife and conservation, giving access to the site for the public and recognising the site’s heritage and history.  We are delighted to be working with partners such as Lark Energy and Suffolk Wildlife Trust to ensure that this is the case.”

The former airfield is not highly visible from the surrounding area, with the specific site that has been chosen for the solar farm being well screened by woodland and hedgerow.  

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