A LEADING pressure group has objected to a planning application for 28,000 solar panels on open fields near Bledlow.
Hive Energy, a company based in Hampshire, wants to place the panels and 39 pylons at Forty Green Farm in Forty Green.
More than 100 residents have objected to the application on the Wycombe District Council planning website, but there has also been a handful of letters in support for the development.
The Open Spaces Society, a pressure-group for the protection of paths and green spaces, has objected to the application, which will cover 46 acres and is capable of generating up to 7.3MW of power.
The campaign against the proposal is led by the Solar Park Action Group, a member of the Open Spaces Society. The Ramblers have also objected.
Kate Ashbrook, the OSS general secretary, said: "The applicants call this a "solar park" to make it sound acceptable but of course that is a euphemism; it is a solar factory in open countryside. It will be highly visible from numerous places, near and far. It will be an eyesore from Bledlow and its surrounding settlements of Henton, Forty Green, Skittle Green and Holly Green, as well as from the Chiltern ridge.
"This is an industrial development in a beautiful rural area. It is close to, and crossed by a number of public footpaths and one at least would need to be diverted—although he applicants claim that public access is unaffected. There is also the nearby Phoenix Trail, which is immensely popular for walkers, riders and cyclists; the proposed development would ruin their enjoyment of the area."
The applicants say the site is currently in agricultural use but due to the temporary nature (26 years) of the development the agricultural use will be retained- particularly in the long term.
They add: "If the council is to committed towards renewable energy generation then such electricity generation will need to be introduced, which will generally need to be located outside of urban areas and within the countryside where the capacity to support such developments exist."
They also said due to the nature of the development the land needs to be not subject to overshadowing.
They added: "It is considered that due to the benign nature of the development proposals that the solar park will not have an unacceptable visual impact on the wider surroundings given the topography of the site and the layering effect of the existing vegetation in the majority of views."
The case planning officer, Richard White (ref. 14/05105/FUL) on Wycombe District Council website will welcome your comments.