The “bring your brolly day” was a huge success. Following the initial planning rejection it revitalised the project, brought the community together and proved beyond doubt the project could be delivered with minimal visual impact, even in this highly sensitive setting.
The site is a long and undulating valley side field. Whilst the initial 3D models helped in assessing the visual impact, as a community project the funding was not available to generate completely accurate CGI’s. By simultaneously photographing the site from selected viewpoints from a 360 degree spectrum we could generate really accurate photomontages; the results were surprisingly affective and extremely useful in redesigning the site.
One additional unexpected benefit was a discerning couple who did not want to participate photographed the day from a viewpoint they felt was important. We were able to meet them, generate additional photomontages and demonstrate the visual impact of the proposals.
Approximate Map Location
Clews Landscape Architecture Ltd
Shortlisted for an LI Award 2015
The proposals is to create community owned 5MW solar farm in the parish of Charlbury, West Oxfordshire. Charlbury is within the Cotswold AONB and neighbours Cornbury Park Estate, a grade II* listed park and garden. The best available site was selected and a locally base team of professionals led by Sustainable Charlbury successfully applied for a government WRAP (Waste and Recourse Action Plan) R.C.E.F. (Rural community energy fund) grant to undertake a feasibility study. We were the first successful applicant to be awarded this grant.
Planning consultant: Ethical Partnership LLP; Landscape Architect: Clews Landscape Architecture Ltd; Ecologist: Wychwood Biodiversity; Heritage Consultant: Jody OReily Consultant; Solar Suppliers: Solar Century.
The project made the community integral to the design process both physically and practically. It clearly demonstrated visual impact on a very tricky site and allowed the community to decide on the fine balance of impact against community return. Participating on the day was very special too; it was like being part of sculptural installation with an 850m long line of over a hundred multicolored umbrellas strung out along a bare ploughed field. And perhaps most importantly it proved to be a key factor in turning a rejection into an approval with the project due to begin onsite in 2016.