Solar farm cable will be installed on Botley Road

The route has been closed to traffic at the rail bridge since April as Network Rail work on a £161m project to upgrade the station and work on the road is not expected to be completed until October.

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Now plans for a second solar farm in the area – at Farmoor- look set to bring more disruption as a cable needs to be laid beneath Botley Road.

Energy firm Green Nation has submitted a planning application for the solar farm across 61 hectares at Farmoor, called Red House Solar Farm.

It will not be as big as the Photovolt Development Partners solar farm.

The public are being consulted about a 1,000 hectare (2,471-acre) facility on sites near Botley, Kidlington and Woodstock, with consultation running until February 8.

Oxford Mail: Solar panelsRegarding Red House Solar Farm, Green Nation said on its website: “Green Nation has submitted a planning application to the Vale of White Horse District Council for a 49.9MW Solar Farm and associated infrastructure on land to the west of Red House Farm, Farmoor.

“The proposed development would create enough renewable energy to meet the annual electricity needs of approximately 9,000 homes per year, which would offset 23,161 tonnes of CO2 each year.

“In addition to having solar panels on the site, the proposal also includes a biodiversity net gain and landscape enhancement measures.

“Sheep will graze around and beneath the solar panels once operational, therefore offering dual use for the land.”

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Green Nation is also seeking planning permission from the city council to install an underground cable from Botley Road, near Botley Bridge, to connect the solar farm to the Oxford Bulk Supply Point electricity substation at Ferry Hinksey Road.

And the planning, design and access statement on the application has warned that laying the cable could bring disruption to residents.

It says: “Works to install the cable are a short-term impact.

“The applicant appreciates and accepts there will be some disruption to residents along this element of the route.

Oxford Mail: “The applicant continues to explore alternative options to that proposed, to avoid disruption to the residents and to the road network.”

A senior engineer for the county council has also warned that the location of the cable work – which will require a 1.2m trench – could clash with a “rolling programme” of road resurfacing.

He has requested that the solar farm company liaises with the council – the highways authority – to avoid “post resurfacing disturbance”.

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Julian Le Vay, of residents’ group West Oxford Access, said: “From 2025 companies could face fines of £2,500 a day for blocking traffic-critical roads.”

More than 400 people have signed a petition asking the Government to financially aid businesses on Botley Road.

Their calls come as Network Rail’s partial closure of the route enters its second calendar year.

Oxford Mail: Solar panelsBusinesses have seen footfall and profits plummet since the road was shut at the rail bridge.

The Government is now facing calls to provide traders with a business support fund until the work ends in October.

A petition calling for “immediate action” on this has been signed by 437 people and presented to Parliament.

Aldens butchers, based on the Osney Mead industrial estate off Botley Road, announced earlier this month it is moving its wholesale operation to Bicester, partly as a result of traffic concerns, including the closure of the Botley Road.

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