When It Happens Panel Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting 'OXFORD NEWS' to 80360 or email
Solar farm plans switched to 'go'
PLANS to build a huge solar farm on a field in North Oxfordshire have been approved.
RS Assemblies Ltd plans to put about 80,262 panels in a single large field at Manor Farm, between Ambrosden and Merton, near Bicester.
The panels will generate electricity for the National Grid.
Currently the land is used for grazing and to grow cereals.
Panels will be mounted on a metal framework and face south at an angle of 30 degrees.
Electricity cables cross the site, and the developers propose to replace them with with underground lines.
No jobs will be created and the site will be monitored by CCTV.
The plan came under fire from one councillor who likened the proposal to an “electricity factory” in the open countryside.
James Macnamara told the meeting last week: “Our policy is against sporadic development in the countryside.
“It’s all very well calling it a farm, but 13 buildings, 80,000 panels, an electricity sub- station and security fencing is no more a farm than this building (the council’s office) is. It’s totally inappropriate development. This is an industrial installation and should be on a site designated for industry. Because it’s Green, we are being asked to approve a electricity factory in the open countryside.
“This is a power station and there’s no other power station that would be allowed in this field.”
Planning officer Bob Dux-bury said it “unwise” to describe the proposal as industrial development.
He said the solar farm would not have any adverse impact on the area, and the type of development was supported “heavily” by the Government.
Cllr David Hughes said: “We all need electricity and we have got to find alternative ways to provide it.
“If we are going to have this, it needs to be where it will not have an effect on local properties.”
Cllr Russell Hurle supported the plan and said the development was discrete and hidden from public view.
Ambrosden Parish Council supported the application provided an “appropriate traffic management” system was in place during the construction period.
No one from RS Assemblies was available to provide more details about the solar farm or when work would start on the development.