Botley West is the name of the HUGE solar installation planned for Oxfordshire. But who is actually behind it? Below we list the parties involved.
All of the information below is in the public domain.
Owning land under multiple companies, Blenheim has given notice to their tenant farmers so the land is available for solar panels. You can find their contact details on their website
Merton, a college of the University of Oxford, has offered up their land to the proposal. You can find their contact details on their website
A collection of farming businesses make up some of the proposal: Hill Grove Family Farm Ltd, Faulkner & Ors, John P Gee & Sons Ltd
Blenheim is often described as if it is one big private estate.
A part of our history. A World Heritage Site. Something to be proud of.
But actually the truth is very different.
Blenheim is made up of two parts.
1. Blenheim Palace Heritage Foundation - “The Charity.”
This mainly consists of Blenheim Palace and the most important historical buildings and grounds you can visit which are close to the Palace itself. It is legally a charity and registered with The Charity Commission.
2. “The Blenheim Estate”
This is a very large private business and goes beyond the walls of Blenheim Palace. It rents out land, farms, commercial, industrial and domestic buildings, and owns several private companies such as Pye Homes. All of this is registered at Companies House.
But why is this important?
The purpose of “The Charity” is for “The Benefit of the Public and Mankind” (Charity Commission). The purpose of “The Blenheim Estate” is private. It is owned and run for the benefit of private Trusts and individuals.
Will “The Charity” gain financially from the Solar Farm?
The answer is “No”
The Vanbrugh Unit Trust (which is one of the most important private trusts in ‘The Blenheim Estate”) is the main property business of the estate and the landowner of the land involved in the Botley West Solar Farm. This means that Blenheim Palace Heritage Foundation, (“The Charity”) does not financially benefit from the Solar Farm if it goes ahead.
Does this matter?
We think it does.
The impact of Botley West on the wider setting of Blenheim Palace will be very serious.
However an independent statement from "The Charity” as to whether it supports or objects to the proposal has not been published.