Construction of the access roads is now well under way, with all traffic entering the site from the A40. This phase should be complete by mid-September. The construction website may have progress reports.
The site is bisected by footpath 206/18 heading west to South Leigh, directly to the west of Twelve Acre Farm. Concerns over landscaping and biodiversity should be much allayed by the provision of some 2,300 metres of new native hedgerow planting plus 246 metres of new treeline over time. Discussions with Eynsham and South Leigh Parish Councils, Councillors Carl Rylett and Dan Levy, GreenTEA and the Low Carbon Hub Oxford have also secured a ‘Public Right of Way Enhanced Amenity Area’ which will open up views over an extensive wildflower meadow to the south, plus a rolled stone (or similar) track for cyclists.
As ever, one can only hope that the provisions will be enforced… and that decommissioning / restoration at the end of the 40 year lease will not undo them!
DATELINE 19/03/2020: WODC Lowlands Planning Sub-Committee reconsidered application 19/02516/FUL for a solar photovoltaic farm at Twelve Acre Farm, Chilbridge Road, on 16 March. View summary representations, officers’ recommendations. The application was approved.
There was particular concern about enforcement of the traffic management plan and of the landscaping / biodiversity management plan. County Cllr Charles Mathew added, ‘I feel that the substantial payments of compensation for the inconvenience of view to both adjoining parish councils by the applicant are inappropriate ... and an unfortunate precedent’.
District Cllr Dan Levy commented, ‘I think it’s a great shame but at least Eynsham will be doing its share to help the fight against climate change.’
DATELINE 10/02/2020: WODC Lowlands Planning Sub-Committee considered application 19/02516/FUL for a solar photovoltaic farm at Twelve Acre Farm, Chilbridge Road, this afternoon. Your local representative was Cllr Carl Rylett. View summary comments and issues, officers’ recommendations.
The decision was deferred one month to allow a site visit.
County Councillor Charles Mathew’s message to Sub-Committee Chairman Cllr Ted Fenton follows (WODC Cllr Dan Levy made similar points)...
‘I would ask you to consider this matter very seriously before granting this application and taking the desperate need for escape from pollution and unhealthy activities to promote fresh clean air and activities, which to me are by far the greatest priority in the world today.’
‘Now that the access to the solar farm has been changed to the A40 right turn only (in itself not something I would support, due to the immense and ever increasing volume of traffic on the A40 at the point of entry), I have one overpowering concern, given that the principle of green electricity is one I wholeheartedly support...
‘For the last hundred years, access to countryside has been freely available and has been used; today there is the Garden village (2,200 houses), the A40, the proposed Park and Ride, the Development to the West (1,000 houses with dreadful access through Thornbury Road), the flood plain from Chilbridge Road, OCC Children’s Home leading to the B4449. Add the proposal to dig gravel beside the Siemens factory, which is outlined in the OCC Minerals and Waste Core Strategy 2031 as a preferred site and its access through Cassington Lane for inbound and outbound lorries. The residents of Eynsham have long used these areas of the perimeters of Eynsham for dog walks, relaxation and civilised comfort.
‘Your proposals for a solar farm at Twelve Acre Farm is another nail in this coffin and marks off one of the last green areas which could be accessed from the old Eynsham with old footpaths and the advantages of countryside.’