PLANS for a sprawling 175-acre solar farm on land owned by South Dorset MP Richard Drax hang in the balance, after developers pulled out of a judicial review secured by protesters.

The development on the Charborough Estate, near Mapperton, was granted planning permission last year, despite over 500 objections from locals.

Campaigners secured the legal challenge, a one-day hearing in Bristol, amid disagreements about planning procedures – in particular the need to complete an environmental impact assessment.

Although this is not always necessary, East Dorset District Council – the authority that granted planning permission – later agreed it was in this case.

More than 112,000 panels, covering an area equivalent to 110 football pitches, were due to be installed on the estate.

However, Good Energy – the developer behind the solar farm – has confirmed it will not contest the judicial review, which effectively quashes the original planning consent.

The company insists it is now reviewing its options for the site.

A Good Energy spokesman said: “We have decided not to contest the judicial review relating to Mapperton Solar Farm.

“It is worth noting that the claim for the judicial review focussed on the planning authority’s procedures and not the merits of the project itself, which we believe would be a good solar site.

“We are currently reviewing our options for this site.”

Richard Drax declined to comment.