GREEN campaigners say they are “extremely disappointed” after plans for a £5m solar farm that would have powered more than 1,000 homes were thrown out by West Oxfordshire District Council.

Council planning officers said the 30-acre facility on the Cornbury Park estate would have blighted the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Sustainable Charlbury, the group behind the scheme, said it is considering its options.

Chairwoman Liz Reason said: “Sustainable Charlbury is extremely disappointed with the officer recommendation to refuse our planning application and the committee decision to uphold this recommendation.

"This project has absolutely followed Government policy on community renewable energy schemes and offers an exemplar approach to the siting of solar farms in sensitive areas.

“We haven’t made any formal decisions but we’re not just going to drop it. We will get the advice of a planning consultant.”

Mrs Reason, also a member of Charlbury Town Council, said only two-thirds of the site would have included the 22,000 panels and the rest of it would have been covered by trees. The scheme would have generated five megawatts of power for the National Grid, making £80,000 savings each year for residents who invested in it.

There were no objections from the Campaign for Rural England and 76 per cent of Charlbury residents supported the scheme.

Charles Cottrell-Dormer, district councillor for Stonesfield and Tackley, told the meeting of the council's uplands planning sub-committee on Tuesday: “The Government said solar panels shouldn’t be put on green field sites and should only be in industrial areas and on roofs.”