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RICHARD EDEN: Olympic gold medalists Charlotte Dujardin and Carl Hester take development to cover Gloucestershire’s picturesque fields with solar panels


She is Britain’s second most decorated Olympian with three equestrian gold medals, but Charlotte Dujardin’s biggest victory was not on horseback.

A controversial bid to cover Gloucestershire’s picturesque fields with solar panels, which she opposed with fellow gold medalist Carl Hester, has been scrapped, I can reveal.

Dressage riders have said plans for a six megawatt solar farm near the stables they use could hamper their horses’ fitness regime and damage their chances of selection for Team GB.

Developers have challenged Forest of Dean District Council’s decision to refuse planning permission for solar panels on around 34 acres of farmland in Upleadon, Gloucestershire – an area about 11 times the size of Trafalgar Square.

But now the planning inspector has dismissed Pathfinder Clean Energy UK Dev Ltd’s appeal.

Charlotte Dujardin celebrates winning bronze in the Grand Prix Freestyle – Individual Final at Gio to become Great Britain’s most decorated Olympian with six medals at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Dressage riders have said plans for a six megawatt solar farm near the stables they use could hamper their horses' fitness regime and damage their chances of selection for Team GB.  Pictured: Charlotte Dujardin

Dressage riders have said plans for a six megawatt solar farm near the stables they use could hamper their horses’ fitness regime and damage their chances of selection for Team GB. Pictured: Charlotte Dujardin

Carl Hester (left) and Charlotte Dujardin (right) raise the Union Flag to celebrate their medal win at Tokyo 2020

Carl Hester (left) and Charlotte Dujardin (right) raise the Union Flag to celebrate their medal win at Tokyo 2020

Developers have challenged Forest of Dean District Council's decision to refuse planning permission for solar panels on around 34 acres of farmland in Upleadon, Gloucestershire.  Pictured: Charlotte Dujardin

Developers challenged Forest of Dean District Council’s decision to refuse planning permission for solar panels on around 34 acres of farmland in Upleadon, Gloucestershire. Pictured: Charlotte Dujardin

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District councilors have already voted to reject the plan. The solar panels, which would power more than 2,600 homes, have faced strong opposition from dozens of residents and the parish council.

Planning inspector John Woolcock said he found the proposal would have a significant adverse effect on the landscape.

In his decision, he said the site was in the Severn Vale, a vast landscape with a complex mix of arable land and pasture.

Hedgerows and field trees are an important landscape feature, he added, and are conspicuous when located on the many small hills that rise from the valley.

«I believe the proponent underestimates the sensitivity of the landscape receptor in this deeply rural setting,» he said.

“Metal and glass panels, together with their regular arrangement in long rows, would not suit the character of the area.

«The color and texture of the panels would not be typical of its agricultural context and so the proposed development would introduce a utilitarian element to this deeply rural landscape.»

Charlotte Dujardin Team GB



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