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  • Writer's pictureCllr Liam Walker

Residents unite against fields of 'glass and steel'

Updated: Feb 23, 2023

Local residents impacted by the proposed Botley West Solar Farm came together on Friday 17th February to show their rejection to the solar farm plans and were joined by local County Councillor Liam Walker.

Over a hundred people from the villages of Church Hanborough, Cassington and Bladon gathered for a short walk with Cllr Walker to see the impact the solar farm will have on the surrounding countryside. The land of the proposed sites, which is owned by Blenheim estate, will be split across three sites in three districts in Oxfordshire - north of Woodstock, west of Kidlington and west of Botley.

The proposed solar farm will be split across sites in three districts - north of Woodstock, west of Kidlington and west of Botley - and will span more than 3,400 acres mostly on land owned by Blenheim estate.

It will significantly impact Tackley, Wootton, Glympton, Bladon, Woodstock, Long Hanborough, Church Hanborough, Rousham, Eynsham and Cassington in West Oxfordshire.

Rosemary Lewis who lives in Church Hanborough and helped organise the walks said, "We were delighted that County Councillor Liam Walker and MP Robert Courts decided to join us for the Stop Botley West Footpath Event on Friday and quite overwhelmed with the turnout of over 100 people, demonstrating the strength of support for this campaign. Both Cllr Walker and Mr Courts spoke very strongly in support of our opposition to this monstrous proposal and everyone was able to see for themselves the huge highly visible sweep of undulating farmland stretching from Church Hanborough to the horizon that will form just part of the middle section of Botley West Solar Farm."

Campaigners against the solar farm argue that it will significantly impact residents in the villages of Tackley, Wootton, Glympton, Bladon, Woodstock, Long Hanborough, Church Hanborough, Rousham, Eynsham, and Cassington which all in West Oxfordshire.

Rosemary Lewis added, "Cllr Walker then accompanied us to Cassington and on to Bladon visiting two further sites to see many more fields all proposed to be covered in glass and steel and highly visible from roads and footpaths. We are passionately in favour or renewable energy but argue for zero carbon not zero countryside."

The developer putting forward the proposal, Photovolt Development Partners (PVDP), states on their website that the Botley west Solar Farm could generate enough electricity to power up to 330,000 homes.

Cllr Liam Walker, who represents Hanborough and Minster Lovell division at Oxfordshire County Council, said "I was more than happy to join campaigners on Friday and thank them for coming along to share their views on the Botley West Solar Farm proposal. I have made it very clear that I cannot support this project and I encourage some of my councillor colleagues to get off the fence and join our campaign to stop it. We cannot allow this monstrosity of glass and steel panels to cover our beautiful countryside. We should be covering existing buildings and homes in solar panels rather than farming fields. As a local developer Blenheim have the power to install solar systems on their new homes and I suggest they start here rather than covering our countryside in these panels."

The Botley West Solar Farm scheme will be decided by the Government, via the Planning Inspectorate, and not by local councils. If it gets the go-ahead from the Secretary of State, building is expected to start in the summer of 2025.

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