An appeal has been lodged against Wiltshire Council’s decision to reject a major solar farm development to the east of Melksham.

In April the council’s strategic planning committee turned down plans for the proposed 80-hectare site on Sandridge Hill, put forward by developer Sandridge Solar.

Sandridge claims the development could generate enough electricity to power 11,400 average UK homes, but the project was strongly criticised by residents in Seend, who argued it would represent an unwanted “industrialisation of the countryside”.

The application was supported by Melksham Town, Melksham Without Parish and Bromham Parish Councils, but opposed by Seend Parish Council.

The developers will now put their case to a government-appointed planning inspector, in a bid to overturn the decision.

Speaking after permission was denied, Sandridge Solar director St John Hughes said: “It is a robust application that fulfils planning policy and guidelines, and an established need for more renewables in the county.

“The public, local parish councils and town council are strongly in favour of it, and the planning officer has recommended approval, so naturally we will be appealing. The substantial positive benefits for the county and the UK outweighed the minor impacts.”