22nd Oct, 2016

Solar farm bid cast into shade for being blot on the landscape

Evesham Editorial 18th Sep, 2014 Updated: 20th Oct, 2016

PROPOSALS to build a 120-acre solar farm in Wickhamford have been thrown out after councillors claimed the development was ‘too obtrusive’.

Plans to construct the 48 hectare site off Longdon Hill split Wychavon District Council’s planning committee last Thursday (September 11) who narrowly voted to refuse the propsosals.

The development originally came before members last month and was deferred so they could visit the site asses the potential impact on the landscape.

Councillors highlighted the issue of the size of the farm when it last came before them, and the same theme reared its head on Thursday.

Coun Barrie Parmenter said: “It’s obvious to get electricity we have to have power stations but I don’t think these power stations are the answer.

“In the next four or five years we as a country will have to put up with nuclear power because we will run out of electricity, but it’s the land being taken away that’s my big problem.

“I think this is too big a site, it’s in a rural area and I think it will do excessive harm to the landscape.”

Coun Margaret Rowley added: “I don’t have a problem with solar farms as such, I think it’s a good way of generating electricity, but in this particular case it’s such a large area and there’s very little open area so there’s very little screening.

“It does amaze me that the AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) board have not objected to it because for me it will be far too obtrusive on the landscape.”

The 21 megawatt farm would have included blue and black panels with a maximum height of 2.5 metres arranged in parallel rows, a two metre high fence around the site, supply 5,000 homes with electricity and save 11,000 tonnes of carbon every


Coun David Brotheridge was one of the members in favour of the plans.

“It’s going to be no more visually impacting on the location than all the other things the Vale currently has (Offenham greenhouses and Evesham Vale Centre),” he said.

“The land we’re talking about is important agricultural land, it’s not high quality land for arable. I’m sure the sheep will do very well on the grazing even if it is of a low quality so I can’t see any problem with it.”

A total of eight councillors voted against the farm, six were in favour and one abstained.