Solar site fate to be decided

This Is Wiltshire: Steve Harcourt, who is in favour of the solar farm plans for Wroughton Airfield Steve Harcourt, who is in favour of the solar farm plans for Wroughton Airfield

THE fate of plans to build one of the country’s biggest solar farms is set to be decided at a public inquiry starting next week.

Due to be located at the Wroughton Airfield, the project is a joint venture between Swindon Commercial Services and the Science Museum to build the farm, which would provide power to 12,000 homes.

The proposal was given approval by the council and has strong local support, but the Planning Inspector has raised concerns because of the impact the solar farm will have on the North Wessex Downs, designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The inquiry, which will run over six days, will start on Monday and be held at the civic offices.

Those behind the scheme are still confident that it will be given the go ahead and bring a huge benefit to Wroughton and the surrounding area.

James Owen, of SCS, said: “It was a bit of a confidence knock when the decision was made but we are all still confident it will go through.

“The inspector has a number of key questions around the plan and I think we will have answers to them all. He will be looking at the impact on the heritage of the area, the impact on the landscape and place within the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

“He can also ask about any concerns he may have.

“We have spent the last three months putting our case together so we believe we are in a position to answer anything that is needed.”

Following the inquiry, the inspector will then make a recommendation which will be passed to the Secretary of State, who will make the final decision.

When the decision was first made by the planning committee there was a strong level of support among local residents, including Steve Harcourt.

He said: “My position since that first decision has not really changed and I am still very supportive of the proposal, and a lot of the people I speak with feel the same.

“I hope the inspector sees the benefit it will have to the community. I am a regular walker around where they are proposing to put the solar farm and I think it will be almost unnoticeable.”

However, the solar farm is not welcomed by all with some strongly opposed to the plan because of its impact on the surrounding area.

Henry Oliver, the director of the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, has welcomed the inquiry.

He said: “As we have made clear from the outset, this proposal would have an unacceptable impact on this nationally protected landscape, and on the setting of historic Barbury Castle, which is a country park popular with local people and a key point on the Ridgeway National Trail.”

Comments (8)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

7:54am Tue 2 Sep 14

rog-wal says...

AONB people - a solar farm is worth the lose of a view. A solar farm will inconvenience no-one. It won't make a noise and won't have a flicker shadow like a turbine or smells like biogas fuels. I urge people to back this.
Ps...I am usually sceptical offset renewals and 100% in favour of nuclear, but on this occasion I see its positive outweighs its negatives.
AONB people - a solar farm is worth the lose of a view. A solar farm will inconvenience no-one. It won't make a noise and won't have a flicker shadow like a turbine or smells like biogas fuels. I urge people to back this. Ps...I am usually sceptical offset renewals and 100% in favour of nuclear, but on this occasion I see its positive outweighs its negatives. rog-wal
  • Score: 10

12:42pm Tue 2 Sep 14

Oldtownmum says...

The one at junction 16 is an absolute eye sore.
The one at junction 16 is an absolute eye sore. Oldtownmum
  • Score: -8

1:44pm Tue 2 Sep 14

house on the hill says...

Oldtownmum wrote:
The one at junction 16 is an absolute eye sore.
Depends on who you are, I know loads of people who like at and the wind farm at Wanborough too. Like everything in life we are all different and you will never please everyone.
[quote][p][bold]Oldtownmum[/bold] wrote: The one at junction 16 is an absolute eye sore.[/p][/quote]Depends on who you are, I know loads of people who like at and the wind farm at Wanborough too. Like everything in life we are all different and you will never please everyone. house on the hill
  • Score: 1

2:02pm Tue 2 Sep 14

The Artist formally known as Grumpy Old Man says...

Oldtownmum wrote:
The one at junction 16 is an absolute eye sore.
What makes it an eyesore in your opinion?
[quote][p][bold]Oldtownmum[/bold] wrote: The one at junction 16 is an absolute eye sore.[/p][/quote]What makes it an eyesore in your opinion? The Artist formally known as Grumpy Old Man
  • Score: 2

5:18pm Tue 2 Sep 14

oldtown57 says...

Since becoming manager Mark Cooper has done an excellent job with extremely limited resources. The relationship he has with the owner seems to have resulted in us having a team of exciting young players. Over the last few seasons we have had the 'experienced' managers Wilson and, heaven forbid, Hart. We have had the forgettable Malpas and the unforgettable Di. Casio. The latter, for all the excitement he brought, nearly ruined the club. None of these managers got us out of League 1. Hopefully we now have a brief period of stability with a realistic owner and manager. Our side now contains, in my opinion, the best keeper in league one, two young defenders who may one day play for England and the best midfield in the league bar none. The possession football we are playing is, quite simply, superb for this league. Of course it will not last because eventually money will talk and players will leave. My advice to anyone who is staying away at the moment is to go to the County Ground and watch this team play whenever they can. We'll done to Mark Cooper and, let's not forget, Luke Williams as well for coaching this wonderful young talent.
Since becoming manager Mark Cooper has done an excellent job with extremely limited resources. The relationship he has with the owner seems to have resulted in us having a team of exciting young players. Over the last few seasons we have had the 'experienced' managers Wilson and, heaven forbid, Hart. We have had the forgettable Malpas and the unforgettable Di. Casio. The latter, for all the excitement he brought, nearly ruined the club. None of these managers got us out of League 1. Hopefully we now have a brief period of stability with a realistic owner and manager. Our side now contains, in my opinion, the best keeper in league one, two young defenders who may one day play for England and the best midfield in the league bar none. The possession football we are playing is, quite simply, superb for this league. Of course it will not last because eventually money will talk and players will leave. My advice to anyone who is staying away at the moment is to go to the County Ground and watch this team play whenever they can. We'll done to Mark Cooper and, let's not forget, Luke Williams as well for coaching this wonderful young talent. oldtown57
  • Score: 0

6:16pm Tue 2 Sep 14

GANGWARILY says...

I don't
I don't GANGWARILY
  • Score: 1

6:43pm Tue 2 Sep 14

GANGWARILY says...

Firstly ... "Oldtown57" Well done for posting your comments for a different thread. Mistakes happen. :0)

Regarding the Solar Farm, there is clearly a need for us to provide more and more sustainable energy and solar surely must be a preferred option. Sadly we will always have adverse comments from both the NIMBYs and the Countryside Brigade but the point is, we need energy and this thirst is ever increasing. Fossil fuels damage the environment. This is clear and we are told we must look elsewhere for alternatives. So when wave, wind or solar solutions are suggested, I would ask that the NIMBYs and CS Brigade to provide us with their preferred solution and I would ask that they provide their response, carbon free.

What exactly is an area of outstanding beauty? The area we are talking about here consists of vast open grass-land. Visitors to the neighbouring Barbury Castle would not be directly affected. Indeed the majority of visitors who visit such a site may actually welcome environmentally friendly measures and the reason for their visit may actually be as a result of the solar farm itself.

Eyesore or not... please let me know your alternative solution!
Firstly ... "Oldtown57" Well done for posting your comments for a different thread. Mistakes happen. :0) Regarding the Solar Farm, there is clearly a need for us to provide more and more sustainable energy and solar surely must be a preferred option. Sadly we will always have adverse comments from both the NIMBYs and the Countryside Brigade but the point is, we need energy and this thirst is ever increasing. Fossil fuels damage the environment. This is clear and we are told we must look elsewhere for alternatives. So when wave, wind or solar solutions are suggested, I would ask that the NIMBYs and CS Brigade to provide us with their preferred solution and I would ask that they provide their response, carbon free. What exactly is an area of outstanding beauty? The area we are talking about here consists of vast open grass-land. Visitors to the neighbouring Barbury Castle would not be directly affected. Indeed the majority of visitors who visit such a site may actually welcome environmentally friendly measures and the reason for their visit may actually be as a result of the solar farm itself. Eyesore or not... please let me know your alternative solution! GANGWARILY
  • Score: 1

10:27am Wed 3 Sep 14

Oik1 says...

Solar farms are a complete eyesore in my view, they are never going to supply enough energy to make their presence worth the ground they stand on,if we have real concerns about power and it's supply we already have the answer and the tools do it and that is nuclear power.
Solar farms are a complete eyesore in my view, they are never going to supply enough energy to make their presence worth the ground they stand on,if we have real concerns about power and it's supply we already have the answer and the tools do it and that is nuclear power. Oik1
  • Score: -1
Post a comment

Remember you are personally responsible for what you post on this site and must abide by our site terms. Do not post anything that is false, abusive or malicious. If you wish to complain, please use the ‘report this post’ link.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree