Market Deeping firm Lark Energy finally granted permission for Suffolk solar farm

Lark Energy's solar farm in Hawton.
Lark Energy's solar farm in Hawton.
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Eric Pickles has granted planning permission for a solar farm nine months after the High Court quashed his decision to refuse it.

Mr Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, has finally granted planning permission for Lark Energy’s solar farm at Ellough Airfield, near Beccles, Suffolk, more than two years since the application was first submitted by the Market Deeping-based energy company.

The scheme, on a former Second World War airfield and adjacent to the Ellough Industrial Estate, was recommended for consent by the Planning Inspectorate following a public inquiry. The Secretary of State called in and subsequently overturned the decision in October 2013.

The High Court’s Justice Lindblom found: “The Secretary of State’s reasons leave genuine doubt that he made his decision on the appeal in the way section 38(6) [of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004] required...I believe this is a fatal flaw. It goes to a fundamental part of the decision on the appeal. And it does cause Lark Energy substantial prejudice.”

Jo Wall, Lark Energy’s development director, said: “We were always concerned about the legality of the Secretary of State’s original decision as it appeared to have been made without due regard to the local plan. This was confirmed last year in the High Court.

“We are, however, very pleased that, following the High Court’s quashing of the Secretary of State’s decision, he has now granted consent.”