Landscape character materially harmed by solar farm and hedgerow plans

A solar farm in Oxfordshire would materially harm the character of the landscape, and reinforcing existing hedgerows would create a 'wall effect' along local roads, an inspector has reasoned.

The 55ha site comprised predominantly grade 3b agricultural land, and the panels would extend for approximately two kilometres adjacent to rural roads. The metal structures and frames along with their regular arrangements would be out of keeping with the lowland character of the landscape, introducing man-made structures untypical of the agricultural area, the inspector concluded. Hiding the development would break up the interplay between close and middle distance views which provided variety and interest, with roadside verges having to be maintained at levels which would have a significant impact on the visual amenity of the area. The fact that the scheme was reversible and would, by removing the land from arable farming, allow its quality to be improved, did not outweigh the identified harm.

nspector: John Woolcock; Hearing

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