Ovesco Solar Farm, Norlington Lane

Ovesco Solar Farm, Norlington Lane

Reference number LW/22/0254

The solar farm planning application (LW/22/0254) is being heard at the Planning Committee on Wednesday 9 November. It has been recommended for approval despite Lewes District Council stating that the application is ‘fundamentally compromised and should be withdrawn’. 



2) Submit new or updated comments to the planning portal (see our reasons which may resonate with you below). The Head of Planning at Lewes District Council confirms all comments will be considered.

The planning committee will be briefed on Monday 7 November 2022 so please make sure any comments and emails are submitted now. 

Submit your comments on the planning portal here: https://planningpa.lewes-eastbourne.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=makeComment&keyVal=RA10NZJDIL800


Attend the hearing on Wednesday 9th November 2022 at the Council Chamber, County Hall, St Anne’s Crescent, Lewes, East Sussex, BN7 1UE, starting at 5:00pm.

Key Reasons For Objecting

Select the reasons that matter the most to you but please, where possible, write these in your own words. Lots of very similar cut-and-paste comments will not impress the Planning Committee.
This is not NIMBYism (Not in my back yard) – it’s in the wrong location – Ringmer is the only parish in the district with a solar farm at Upper Clayhill Farm since 2015! There was virtually no opposition to that solar farm because it was in the right place. It doesn’t affect residents or impact on the village’s enjoyment of the countryside unlike the proposed one on Norlington Lane. It shows Ringmer already leads on solar in the district.
Loss of high-grade agricultural land producing food for a generation, maybe two – More than 60% of the site is graded Excellent or Very Good Quality Agricultural Lane, with more than 40% graded Excellent. Putting a solar farm on such high-grade land is against the National Planning Policy Framework. This comes at a time when food production is now exceedingly important. It is also in contravention of LDC key policy to identify land to be put to use for food production.
Substantial impact on leisure use of Norlington Lane and visual impact on this beautiful part of the Ringmer landscape – Norlington Lane is identified as of “special importance” for Ringmer residents’ recreation in the Ringmer Neighbourhood Plan, and such “special importance” is a material planning consideration. With the continuing housing developments in the centre of the village, this space has become even more of a green lung for Ringmer residents, is important for mental well-being, and is easily accessed on foot from the hub of the village. The proposed screening will take 15 years to grow and may still not remove the blighted views of the solar farm.
Impact on views from SDNP – The proposed solar farm would be clearly visible from the SDNP. SDNP opposes the solar farm.
Impact on the setting of listed houses along Norlington Lane – Norlington Lane has more listed properties than any other part of Ringmer. The oldest essentially complete house in Ringmer (the medieval Holly Tree Cottage) and three of Ringmer’s best Elizabethan houses (Norlington Farmhouse, Lilac Cottage and Norlington Gate Farmhouse) lie along the lane – all these will be adversely impacted visually by the industrialization of the lane.
No community benefits – Ovesco have repeatedly talked about community benefits but has not actually come up with any.
Glare – Glare from the panels will affect 40 groups of properties around the village, even with new hedges. Ovesco hasn’t even assessed the impact for two-storey properties because their measurements were done at a height of 2 metres, too low a level to take account of first-floor windows.
Significant noise – There will be significant noise from the many inverters required as part of the solar farm. Norlington Lane is a quiet place and the inverters will destroy this tranquillity, treasured by villagers, and be a constant nuisance to Norlington Lane residents.
Impacts on public footpaths – The footpath through the proposed solar farm will have towering prison-like fences (to exclude deer and vandals) with CCTV. This will ruin the enjoyment of using this well-trodden footpath that links Norlington Lane with Wellingham. The other two footpaths will have views directly onto the industrialised solar farm.
Financial bias – There is a conflict over the fact that Lewes District Council have funded Ovesco’s application to the tune of £155K.

Ovesco has shown itself to be untrustworthy. They lied to Ringmer Parish Council about having the support of Norlington Lane residents, which they didn’t. They misled Lewes District Council over the quality of the land. They say on their website they only target low-productivity land but haven’t had the decency to withdraw their application despite the Leader of Lewes District Council and the Cabinet Member for Sustainability calling for it. 

UPDATE 12 August 2022

A newly published soil survey has revealed very different findings to the one originally commissioned by Ovesco which graded the whole site as sub-grade 3b (moderate quality).  This grading was queried by local residents who referred the case to the British Society of Soil Scientists for a desk-based validation. The assessment was found to have not followed the correct guidelines with grading based on insufficient raw data. As a result this new detailed assessment was commissioned.


These are the findings:





Area (hectares)

% surveyed area






Very Good











Over 60% of the site is graded Excellent or Very Good Quality Agricultural Land with over 40% of the site graded as Excellent Quality.

These findings are clearly a game-changer for the application.  As a result Lewes District Council (who commissioned this new report) has asked OVESCO to withdraw the planning application for this solar farm.  Lewes District Council have acted appropriately and promptly to this new information. We call on OVESCO to do the same and withdraw their application!  We will keep you updated with developments.


Statement from Lewes District Council

Following the submission of a new report from Ovesco into the land value of the site on which they are proposing a new solar farm, Councillor Matthew Bird has issued the statement below:

Councillor Matthew Bird, Cabinet Member for Sustainability, said:

“This report is incredibly disappointing and calls into question the feasibility of the Ovesco solar farm project.

“The information we received at the outset from Ovesco and their consultants made it clear that the land was of a lower grade and therefore a solar farm could be an appropriate use.

“It is my view now that the current Ovesco planning application is fundamentally compromised and should be withdrawn immediately.

“Council officers will also be discussing the financial implications of these developments with Ovesco.”

copy of the report can be downloaded from our Planning pages.

Click here for details on Lewes District Planning Website

Save Norlington Lane have asked us to share their site which can be found here: https://savenorlingtonlane.org/ This site is being updated with more information on a regular basis so keep checking it. 


Items of concern below which you may feel support your objection to this application.

solar farm norlington lane

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