Residents will likely have heard the news of plans for a vast new solar farm to be built in Oxfordshire as a source of ‘green’ energy.
Named Botley West Solar Farm, the plans include developing three sites – one which is right on the edge of Eynsham village – that would combine to deliver power to 330,000 homes, enough to cover every home in the county.
The proposal is still in the early stages and the developers – Photovolt Development Partners, which has 18 years experience delivering solar power projects globally – have now opened the very first stage of the consultation process and are seeking input from local communities and stakeholders.
Some of these sites are planned for existing Green Belt land, although the developers insist they have a commitment to ‘respect existing wildlife, heritage assets and other important natural features’. Their plans would contribute to the ambitious targets set in the Oxfordshire Energy Strategy, including a five-fold increase in solar energy by 2030, but present yet another development within our rural community that further threatens the biodiversity and peace of the place we live in.
There is a dedicated website for Botley West where all the details are available to review. The developers have delivered leaflets to local houses (residents may have received theirs already) and are planning a series of community consultation events to allow members of the public to hear more details, ask questions and share any concerns.
An event is planned for Eynsham on Monday 28 November for all who are interested. From 5pm until 7.30pm, members of the team from Botley West will be in St Leonard's Church Hall with a series of displays, willing to talk and answer any questions. (The information poster can be downloaded at the bottom of the page.)
All stakeholders are encouraged to share their thoughts on the proposals by 22 December (this is an extension to the previously-advertised date of 16 December, due to high level of responses). Feedback can be submitted online via the website. It is also possible to submit comments and feedback by calling 0808 175 3085, emailing email@example.com or sending a letter freepost to BWSF.
The Parish Council is preparing to respond to the consultation and would welcome the input of our residents to help us shape a response that accurately represents the views of the parish. Please email your thoughts to our Communications Officer Sarah at firstname.lastname@example.org ahead of our meeting on 29 November, when the Planning Committee will discuss this. Members of the public are also welcome to attend this meeting, whether in person at the Village Hall or via a video link which will be shared in the agenda on 23 November.