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Eynsham Village - Planning

Botley West Solar Farm

See also Salt Cross Garden Village and West Eynsham SDA

Botley West Solar FarmPhotovolt Development Partners (PVDP) is proposing a new solar farm, split across three sites in Cherwell, West Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse.

More information and links | Latest news


Dateline 30/11/2023

The developers opened a second consultation phase this month, with a Statement of Community Consultation widely distributed in print. A Preliminary Environmental Information Report running to thousands of pages was published today, along with a 53-page Non-Technical Summary. View the Document Library.

The proposed option cable routes will be of special interest to Eynsham. Public information events from 8 December to 19 January will be followed by a webinar on 23 January. Deadline for your comments is Thursday 8 February.


DATELINE 05/10/2023

  • Merton College has withdrawn its Begbroke land holdings (around 5% of the total site area) from consideration in the solar farm project; and plans to give its existing strategy further opportunity to evolve, before making any long-term commitments. Read the statement.
  • The Forever Fields art project, set up as a record and archive of the landscape in the project area, is holding a launch event & exhibition at Worton Hall, Cassington from 24-26 November - entrance free. Eynsham has been closely involved.

DATELINE 29/07/2023: A flurry of recent publications and differing perspectives.

  • The Planning Inspectorate’s opinion on the PVDP scoping proposal is now online, along with the statutory responses. Lots to absorb at 222 pages, for the community and developers alike!
  • Local MP Robert Courts has launched a petition calling for preservation of farmland for food security, local amenity, rural character and the green belt to trump solar farm applications.
  • The developers have circulated a summary report on their community consultation held last year. 71% of the 767 respondents strongly oppose the proposals, with key concerns shown in the gallery below.
  • We don’t have time for perfect, says Kate O’Connor, in a bid to rebalance the discussion. I don’t think the proposal is perfect but the climate crisis leaves us with no other options.

DATELINE 16/06/2023: A new pre-application step.

The developers have submitted a scoping report to the government Planning Inspectorate. This outlines the information they propose to include in their Environmental Impact assessment. The Inspectorate is consulting statutory bodies (only) before delivering a formal opinion. Our local councils have 28 days to respond, if you want to influence their thoughts!


DATELINE 23/05/2023: The arguments continue to swirl.

But have we time to wait for alternatives? An alternative website and Twitter account refute the StopBotleyWest campaigners’ arguments one by one as ill-conceived, short-sighted and nimbyist.

The District Council still refrains from comment, as explained on 23 March: ‘we must remain neutral until [detailed] plans are published so that we are not seen to be biassed before having all the facts’.


DATELINE 03/03/3023: Residents build a case against it; developers continue reviewing feedback.

Stop Botley West logoThe Stop Botley West campaign has moved up a gear, from walking the ‘patch’ and widespread delivery of ‘Just Say No’ flyers to a more strategic approach to the policy makers. Subscribers to their mailing list have been invited to sign a petition to Grant Shapps, Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, and to local MPs, calling for planning permission to be based on local support. Meanwhile...

  • The Eynsham Society hosts a talk on Botley West Solar Farm by Professor David Rogers on 19 April.
  • Oxfordshire CPRE calls on our Local Authority leaders to make an immediate commitment to producing a county-wide renewables strategy.

DATELINE 20/01/2023: Following initial consultation extended to 22 December, because of the large number of responses received, ‘communication channels remain open’. You can continue to contact the developers by Email or Freephone: 0808 175 3085.

A second phase of community consultation is to be announced in spring 2023. Meantime, an image from BWSF Residents' Group shows the scale of the project.


Botley West Solar Farm central site: click to enlargeDATELINE 05/12/2022: Photovolt Development Partners (PVDP) is proposing a new solar farm, split across three sites in Cherwell, West Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse. Many residents will have seen the leaflet; further information and new links below.

For Eynsham, the central site (click to enlarge the thumbnail image) is most significant - stretching north and east both sides of Lower Road as far as Oxford Airport. At this stage, it appears to include land that has been earmarked for Salt Cross Garden Village. Consultation by the developers has included a drop-in event at St Leonard’s Church Hall on 28 November and a Community Webinar on 5 December.

This is an important chance to influence the outcome, as developments on this scale bypass the usual local processes and are decided by the Government Planning Inspectorate.

More information and links beneath the slideshow - please SCROLL DOWN

Gallery

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Cable route options south of Eynsham - Photographer Photovolt Development PartnersHelp create an art archive... - of 3400 acres of threatened Oxfordshire countrysideWhich aspects of the project are most important to you? - BWSF community consultation report - Photographer Photovolt Development PartnersBotley West Solar Farm: central site - each of these black rectangles is the size of a football pitch - Photographer Simon WitterStop Botley West flyer image - Photographer Stop Botley West CampaignLocation: Middle Site Area - Photographer Photovolt Development PartnersProposals: Middle Site Area - Photographer Photovolt Development Partners

Further information and links

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