Upset over Steventon solar parks

A SECOND solar park is to be built in Steventon with a third in the pipeline.

The developments will occupy neighbouring fields off Hanney Road and include dozens of solar panels – potentially providing power for more than 6,000 homes.

When the first 57-acre site was approved in October members of the local parish council didn’t protest to the Vale of White Horse District Council, but privately raised fears it could be the first of many.

Then, when plans for a second 65-acre solar park went in the parish council objected but the site was given the go-ahead on December 5.

Now with the developers, who are ploughing £25million into the project, saying there’s a possibility of a third in the pipeline, people fear they will be soon surrounded by the panels, transformer housings, security fencing and cameras. This has prompted worries over a loss of privacy for houses.

Renewable energy firm Hive Energy hopes to have the first site up and running by April next year, as part of a drive across the south to create more than a dozen new solar parks.

The chairman of Steventon Parish Council, Stuart Fisher, said they weren’t against the presence of solar panels near the village, as long as there weren’t too many.

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He said: “The view from us when the first one came in was that we weren’t adverse to it in any way.

“The concern was that we would get all of them together – which now looks like it is the case.

“So we registered our concerns with the council, but they tend to look at things in isolation rather than as a group.”

But district council planning committee chairman Robert Sharp said it had been a unanimous decision to allow the second site. He said: “The arguments against it didn’t change any minds.

“We have got to remember that people can appeal against our decisions if we refuse things.”

Hive Energy spokesman Tim Purbrick said the company was keen to work with residents to address their concerns.

He said: “We are hoping to use various methods, such as landscaping, to shield the sites as much as possible.”

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