Update from Parish Path Wardens, November 2021
Whilst our network of Public Rights of Way (PRoWs) is clear for access, the underfoot conditions soon become difficult in places after heavy rain at this time of year. A number of these routes that cross recently ploughed fields have not, at the time of writing, been reinstated as they should be within two weeks after ploughing. These are the same footpaths that were not reinstated earlier in the year after crops were planted, and which therefore caused access difficulties through the summer months. This issue has again been referred to the powers that be at the County Council and to the Parish Council, asking them to again contact the relevant landowner(s) to resolve the matter, hopefully now and in future years!
Turning now to the proposed Tar Farm solar farm, the fact that a number of public footpaths pass through the site concerns us. The area concerned (from behind Just Cartridges’ warehouse across to Rushy Common and Tar Farm and beyond towards Cogges Lane) has a truly country feel to it, with expansive views, including looking across to South Leigh in its rural setting. We feel that the aesthetics of the area will be lost with a solar farm there, and screening the site from the footpaths will not help; after all, this screening will also obscure the very views that are currently enjoyed from these routes!
We certainly agree in principle with the construction of solar farms in view of the climate emergency, as long as they are placed where there is minimal (preferably no!) impact on people. However, we feel that this particular site is not the right location for a solar farm, as the number of ‘public footpaths’ there brings it very much into the public domain.
If you value the importance and benefits of these public footpaths, and would rather the area be left as it is, we trust that, like us, you made your views known to the developers (Bluefield) and the Parish Council, as well as to the Planning Department at W.O.D.C. immediately following submission of the planning application.
To end on a more upbeat note, we hope that the Parish routes continue to be used and enjoyed by as many as possible, not only over the winter months but beyond too – and may the weather be with you!
Anne & Russell Cherry
Public Rights of Way