A developer has submitted revised plans for a solar park that was fiercely opposed by residents of a Cotswold village.

British Solar Renewables has lodged fresh plans for Akeman Solar Park in Ramsden to West Oxfordshire District Council.

It claims the site will have enough capacity to generate power for over 6,000 family homes.

Cotswold Journal: Revised layout

BSR originally submitted a planning application in 2021 with solar panels covering 27 acres of the five-field site.

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The application sparked strong opposition and was withdrawn days before the planning meeting.

The new design scheme is 10 per cent smaller with around 2,900 fewer panels.

BSR said that having listened to feedback collected during the original consultation period, it revised the design and launched a second programme of public consultation in 2023. 

It claims that "technological advances, and specification changes in the output of panels means the Solar Park would still have an export capacity of up to 20MW for distribution to the National Grid and would generate an estimated 20,000MWh of clean, renewable electricity per year.

Cotswold Journal: Existing field entrance

"This is the equivalent to the annual electrical needs of approximately 6,060 family homes", it said.

Plans state that the proposed solar park "offers the opportunity for ecological enhancements" and there is "expected to be a significant positive net biodiversity impact".

New hedgerow planting is proposed to contain and screen the solar arrays and no public rights of way will be closed during or after construction.

BSR added that it is committed to establishing a community benefit fund of £20,000 for local projects which could include energy saving measures for low-income households and support for community projects focused on renewable energy generation.

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And it said over its lifecycle the project will generate approximately £1million of business rates for West Oxfordshire District Council.

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The original application sparked opposition from Solar Park Action Group (SPAG), residents of the villages of Ramsden and Delly End, on the grounds it would affect the views and character of the village and nearby Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), plus its impact on ecology, highways and archaeology.

Ramsden Parish Council and CPRE West Oxfordshire also opposed it and there were 165 objections posted on WODC’s planning portal.

Colin Ramsay, chief operating officer at BSR Energy - BSR's development arm - said: “It has never been more important to change the way we make energy in the UK.

"Our application follows West Oxfordshire District Council’s declaration of a climate emergency, and the emergence of national climate change targets that are enshrined in law.

"We’ve listened closely to the feedback from the local community and have made recent amendments to the scheme design including the removal of sections of the proposed solar array."