A plan to install a solar farm on land near Hereford capable of powering over 9,000 homes could be approved next week.

An application lodged in late 2021 by Ersun (Westhide SPV) Ltd of Cheshire sought planning permission for ground-mounted solar panels across eight fields totalling 150 acres west of the village of Westhide and northeast of Withington.

Following comments and representations, it was scaled back to a 25-megawatt installation comprising over 45,000 individual solar panels at a maximum height of three metres. These would no longer be installed on four fields of higher agricultural quality.


The plan also proposes installing 2.4-metre high security fencing, CCTV cameras, an internal access track, underground cabling, a substation and environmental enhancement measures.

The broadly level site is bound to the north by the disused Herefordshire and Gloucestershire Canal which is currently being restored. It has “no dwellings in the immediate vicinity” and no public rights of way across it, the application said.

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The electricity it would generate would go into the National Grid via a substation at Dormington. Amounting to over 26,000 megawatt hours a year, this would be enough to power “9,098 typical medium-usage households”, it added.

The bid has drawn around 40 objections from the public, and eight submissions in support.

Ocle Pychard Group Parish Council said that despite the revisions to the plan, it “continued to object” to it, “given that none of the parishioners’ concerns regarding noise pollution or flooding have been dealt with”. Withington Parish Council also remains opposed.


But there have been no objections from the Environment Agency, Natural England, Historic England, nor from the River Lugg Internal Drainage Board or Herefordshire Council’s own transport, environmental health, drainage, archaeology, landscape and ecology officers.

However the Herefordshire & Gloucestershire Canal Trust said “insufficient thought seems to have been given to canal aspects, and to the help the restored canal can give to the flooding issues raised and the biodiversity improvement that the canal can bring”.

“We would hope that positive support towards canal restoration can be implemented, in particular regarding land ownership and ongoing access to the canal site for the general public,” the trust said.

The bid will now be decided by the council’s planning committee next Wednesday (March 15). Planning case officer Rebecca Jenman has recommended approving it subject to 19 proposed conditions.