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Sunnica solar farm plan near Newmarket sees examination phase delayed as preliminary hearing is adjourned

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The examination phase for the massive Sunnica solar farm project has been delayed until September at the earliest.

The decision was taken in the wake of a preliminary hearing in Newmarket last week which sought to ascertain the focus points and agreed upon facts for the examining authorities to begin looking at the 2,792 acre proposal for West Suffolk and East Cambridgeshire.

The hearing was eventually adjourned rather than closing, as Sunnica Ltd had applied to change aspects of its application, and those changes were not clarified in time for the hearing.

Say No To Sunnica campaigners
Say No To Sunnica campaigners

Sunnica is proposing changes to the way it connects to the national grid station at Burwell via substations located within the battery storage compounds in the areas of Isleham, West Row, Chippenham, Snailwell, Freckenham and Red Lodge.

Changes to the cable are also being proposed.

Sunnica is currently carrying out additional consultation on these changes and will submit its formal request to make changes to the scheme on August 30, after which time, the examination proceedings can begin once the changes have been accepted or rejected.

A spokesperson for opposition group Say No To Sunnica said: “The examination period has now been postponed until September or later. This means there is now a longer period of time for people to voice their views to the examining authority.

“We encourage all interested parties to write written representations with detailed comments about your views on the proposal and how it affects you, so that these are ready to submit when the time comes, which is expected to be late September.”

The solar farm would be built over four main sites grouped into Sunnica East, which is predominantly in Suffolk, and Sunnica West, which is within Cambridgeshire but close to the Suffolk border.

Sunnica East is divided into Sunnica East A to the north of Freckenham and to the south-east of Isleham, and Sunnica East B to the east of Freckenham, south of Worlington and north of Red Lodge.

In February, Suffolk County Council said the plans were 'seriously flawed'.

Sunnica Ltd says it has brought forward the energy farm plans to 'meet an urgent national need for new sources of renewable energy generation'.