Gloucestershire

Solar farm plan for Willersey in the Cotswolds criticised

Cotswold campaigners are hoping planners will reject proposals for a 44-acre solar farm in the middle of their village.

The plans for Willersey have been submitted to Cotswold District Council by German energy firm Belectric.

Residents said they were unhappy about the panels replacing countryside and said there were alternative sites.

The BBC has contacted Belectric for a statement regarding the plans, but the firm has not yet responded.

The planning application states that the ground-mounted panels proposed for land to the north of The Byre, Badsey Lane, would generate up to 6MW of electricity.

Barry Knight, who lives near the proposed site, said: "What gets me angry is these councils have got so many unused building areas lying around, why don't they put them on there instead of taking the countryside up?"

'Affect tourism'

Mr Knight said the panels would be seen from all the hills in the area, including Broadway Hill which he said attracted hundreds of tourists a year.

"I think eventually it will affect tourism as well, which is what the county relies on," he said.

Dennis Avis said the solar farm would be 100m from his house, which he is about to put on the market.

He said he was concerned his house would lose value, but said that was not the only reason he objected.

"I've lived here 13 years and I love this area. I will probably come back, but I don't want to see those solar panels in somewhere that I've got good memories from," Mr Avis said.

"It's a bit of a worry, not only for myself but all the people who use the footpath and bridle path."

A campaign group in nearby Mickleton recently saw plans for a 20-acre solar farm rejected at the planning stages.

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