Oxfordshire green belt solar park gains planning permission

Sector: Agriculture & Rural Estates

Group News

Location: Yarnton

Minnis Solar Farm, Oxfordshire Green BeltPlanning permission for a solar park at a site south of Minnis Farm, Yarnton, was granted by Cherwell District Council at a Planning Committee meeting on the 24th October 2019.

Pegasus Group provided planning and landscape expertise and secured consent for the 5MW ground mounted solar park on behalf of Générale du Solaire, who are working jointly with Oxfordshire-based social enterprise Low Carbon Hub.

David Pickford, Principal Planner (Birmingham)Pegasus Group’s Principal Planner, David Pickford, said:

“Due to the location of the site within the Oxford Green Belt, it was necessary for us to demonstrate very special circumstances to outweigh the harm to the Green Belt. The very special circumstances of the proposal were:

  • the scale (5MW) of generation of renewable energy, thereby assisting in reducing carbon emissions, combating climate change and ensuring energy security;
  • the development of a community-led energy initiative, involving Oxfordshire-based Low Carbon Hub, with the project forming part of a wider, nationally significant, low-carbon project across Oxfordshire (Project Local Energy Oxfordshire) with associated benefits to the local community;
  • the lack of suitable and available alternative sites in the area to provide adequate grid capacity and connection to allow for such a proposal, with no previously developed or non-agricultural sites in the area identified that could accommodate this proposal;
  • assisting with the ongoing viability and stability of a rural business through rural diversification;
  • the use of low-grade (grade 4) agricultural land;
  • the non-permanent nature of the development, with some agricultural use maintained during the lifespan of the development; and
  • the number of identified site-specific environmental considerations weighing in favour of the proposal, including the acceptable (subject to mitigation in certain circumstances) impacts, as well as the enhancements identified, in relation to matters such as residential amenity and aircraft safety, including from glint and glare; impact on heritage assets; highway impact; flood risk; arboriculture; ecology; and the limited landscape and visual impact of the proposal.

“Cherwell District Council declared a Climate Emergency in July this year. This project will help contribute toward the Council’s associated carbon emission targets.”

Minnis Farm Solar Park, Oxfordshire Green Belt

For more information about this project or about Pegasus Group services, please contact us.