Solar photovoltaic park would harm rural character and intrinsic beauty

Around 34 hectares of arrays of photovoltaic (PV) solar panels providing the equivalent of 4900 households' annual energy use have been refused permission in open countryside in Oxfordshire being held to be harmful to the appearance and character of the attractive pastoral landscape and contrary to local plan policy.

Despite the solar park meeting national guidelines on location by utilising land of poorer agricultural quality, the inspector considered the site to be a very attractive part of the wider landscape, interspersed with mature hedgerows, small copses of trees and clusters of settlements and relatively undisturbed by modern development or man-made structures. The regimented rows of solar panels, combined with the perimeter fencing, cameras and associated infrastructure would provide an industrial scale development in this highly attractive rural landscape causing harm to its intrinsic beauty and tranquil character. The inspector also found that the solar park would be detrimental to the enjoyment of users of nearby rights of way and rural lanes. The presence of other solar parks in the vicinity nor the significant contribution the proposal would make to energy supply did not sway her conclusions.

Inspector: Vicki Hurst; Hearing


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