THE planning application for 150,000 solar panels at Wroughton will now be the subject of a public inquiry, it was announced yesterday.

The plan to build on 170 acres is a joint project between Swindon Commercial Services and the Science Museum Group. The museum owns the site and uses it to store 30,000 objects from the reserve national collections.

Henry Oliver, the director of the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, has welcomed the news. He said: “As we have made clear from the outset, this proposal would have an unacceptable impact on this nationally protected landscape, andon the setting of historic Barbury Castle, which is a country park popular with local people and a key point on the Ridgeway National Trail.

“We welcome the recognition of these important issues and that the matter will receive proper consideration by the Secretary Of State For The Environment.”