Plans to install more than 40,000 solar panels on land in Shilton have been turned down after councillors decided they would have too big an impact on the landscape.
West Oxfordshire District Council’s Lowlands Area Planning Sub-Committee refused planning permission for energy company Ecotricity to build a solar farm adjacent to Hen ‘n’ Chick Lane on Monday.
A total of 43,000 panels, three metres tall, would have been installed on the site, generating enough electricity to power almost 2,400 homes a year.
Despite being recommended for approval by council officers, the committee voted against the plans.
Warwick Robinson, chairman of the committee, said: “It contravenes quite a few policies.
“Members were not happy with the impact on the landscape and they’re not happy there would have been three solar fields in close proximity to Shilton, so those were the principal concerns.”
Shilton Parish Council objected to the application prior to the meeting, with concerns of damage caused to Ladburn Lane if it was used by construction traffic to access the site.
Council chairman Malcolm Linney said the use of a nearby road as access for a separate solar farm development at Stonelands Farm, about half a mile north of Shilton, left it in poor condition.
He added: “I think people, having seen the mess at Stonelands, certainly wouldn’t entertain a similar scenario along Ladburn Lane.
“If residents parked their cars along Ladburn Lane, which they do, you wouldn’t get a lorry through anyway, so I could see a problem along there.
“We believe the developers will go for an appeal, so we’re going to need to do some work to defend that.”
A statement from Ecotricity said: “We were very surprised by the decision to turn down the planning application for Shilton solar park.
“The expert planning officers from West Oxfordshire District Council recommended the application for approval, which matched our planning assessment.
“We will await the decision notice, which should hopefully outline the reasons for the refusal, before we make any further decision on our part.”