Epwell residents have formed an action group in order to fight proposals to install a solar farm at a local beauty spot.
A planning application submitted to Cherwell District Council on September 11 by Corylus Planning & Environmental Ltd, on behalf of Novus Solar Ltd, proposes a solar farm covering 3.45 hectares within a 7.8 hectare enclosure on farmland at Long Hill in Shutford.
Although the hill is in the parish of Shutford, Epwell residents say they are the ones who will be affected by the solar farm and have set up the action group EASEL (Epwellians Against Solar Energy at Long Hill) to fight the plans.
Chairman Nicola Rudge said: “Most people recognise the need for renewable energy, and most in our group wouldn’t object to a solar development on flat fields which could be effectively screened. But no amount of screening will hide this development on the 200-metre high Long Hill.”
The plan has also raised fears of an industrial development on the edge of the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Resident Lesley Underwood said: “The small amount of electricity produced doesn’t warrant such monstrous damage to this beautiful area. The solar farm would be seen from our large network of public footpaths and bridleways from every direction. The high-profile long distance trails, the Macmillan Way and the d’Arcy Dalton Way, which pass through the area of outstanding natural beauty, are used regularly and frequently by many walking groups, and their enjoyment of the landscape would be spoilt.”
Phillip Duncan, director at Corylus, said there has been an extensive public consultation undertaken through both Shutford and Epwell parish councils and added that following comments from residents, the initial plans have been amended to minimise the visual impact.
The application (13/01133/F) cab be accessed at www.publicaccess.cherwell.gov.uk/online-applications or at the CDC offices in Bodicote House. Comments need to be in before October 2.