Action group campaigns against plans for solar farm between Banbury and Brackley

Dozens of people have come together to form the Copse Lodge Action Group to campaign against proposed plans for a solar farm in a rural area between Banbury and Brackley.

Thursday, 23rd September 2021, 4:36 pm
Dozens of Banburyshire residents have launched a group - Copse Lodge Action Group - objecting against plans for a solar panel farm development between Banbury and Brackley (File solar farm image)

JBM Solar Projects Ltd has submitted a planning application with West Northamptonshire Council for the solar farm to go on a 103ha of land south of the village of Greatworth.

The company hosted a public consultation and launched a website to provide information to area residents about their plans for the solar farm. The website can be viewed here: https://www.copselodgesolar.co.uk/

JBM Solar claims the proposed renewable energy scheme at Copse Lodge Solar Farm will have a generating capacity of up to 50 megawatts.

Diagram of the proposed site for a solar panel farm near the village of Greatworth between Banbury and Brackley (Image from the planning application submitted West Northants Council)

It is proposed that access for construction and operation will be taken from two points along Halse Road which intersects the centre of the site. The construction period is expected to last up to six months.

Members of the Copse Lodge Action Group are encouraging people to submit their objections to the proposed solar farm.

The group launched a website with a banner across the main page, which says: "Together we can stop the proposed Copse Lodge solar farm: Working together as a community."

The website, which can be viewed here: https://copselodgeactiongroup.co.uk/, offers people multiple different ways to object to the plans.

Land near the village of Greatworth which developers want to use for a solar farm (photo submitted by the Copse Lodge Action Group who are campaigning against the development)

Group member Gaby Grafftey-Smith said: "We are a group of local residents in South Northants who are opposing the construction of a 320 acre solar farm in the beautiful valley between Greatworth and Halse.

"Our fight is about changing a wondrous and therapeutic vista richly endowed with important flora and fauna and enjoyed by many into an eyesore.

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"It is massive and is three times the size of the village. It takes out valuable agricultural food producing land. It is a double whammy to the area who are already coping with HS2 on one side of the village."

The group also launched an online petition against the solar farm development, which has more than 700 online signatures.

The petition, which can be viewed here: https://www.change.org/p/west-northants-council-stop-copse-lodge-solar-farm, included this message: "This Copse Lodge Solar Farm project is a clear and present danger to our beautiful countryside, our local heritage, and our leisure. The proposed area that would be covered in glass is 3.5 times the size of Greatworth village itself. We do not believe that the project should be granted planning permission.

"Why is this important? The area between Halse and Greatworth is set to be covered by solar panels in an area the size of 220 football pitches."

Comments about the planning application can still be submitted online with the West Northamptonshire Council.

To submit a comment about the Copse Lodge Solar Farm planning application use the following web link: http://snc.planning-register.co.uk/plandisp.aspx?recno=110944A spokesperson for the West Northamptonshire Council said the council will consider any comments on the application up until a decision is made. The spokesperson said it is anticipated the application will go before the WNC planning committee in December.