An application to build a solar farm at a local beauty spot near Shutford has been rejected by Cherwell district councillors.
At a planning committee meeting at Bodicote House last Thursday, councillors turned down the proposal for farmland at Long Hill, which covered 3.45 hectares within a 7.8 hectare enclosure.
Andrew McHugh is an Epwell resident and member of the action group Epwellians Against Solar Energy at Long Hill (EASEL) with Ian Bradley, Lesley Underwood, Charles Pollard and Nicola Rudge.
He represented the group at the meeting in objection to the application and said: “Thousands of panels, security fencing and equipment will make it look like the ugly industrial development it is.
“Nine foot panels will be clearly visible, especially in winter. There is another application for a solar park at Epwell Grounds Farm, a larger and much more intrusive site just two fields from Long Hill. Together these would have a major impact on our environment; why us?”
Philip Duncan, director at Corylus Planning & Environmental Ltd, on behalf of applicant Novus Solar Ltd, told councillors the application had changed because of extensive consultation with the public, which included the removal of a central section of panels to reduce the visual impact.
He said: “This is an example of a modern solar farm and it has been through extensive consultation with the local community and has changed because of that. This developer recently achieved a solar farm approval at an area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB) in Naunton, not too far from here.”
Councillor George Reynolds called for the application to be rejected. He said: “The solar farm would be on the highest hill in the parish at about 290 metres high. That is 100 metres higher than Crouch Hill, which illustrates how high it is. It will be visible from many directions.
“This farm is in the wrong place and it would have a big impact on the landscape.”