A vast solar park described as a “scar on the landscape” will not be allowed to be built.

Protestors are celebrating the news that an appeal by Castillium, the firm behind the controversial 10-hectare park on farmland between Woodend, Bigrigg and Moor Row, has been thrown out.

The five-megawatt park – the size of around 14 football pitches – would have had 19,400 solar panels, making it one of the biggest in the county.

Copeland Council rejected the plans last October and the government’s Planning Inspectorate has now turned down the appeal.

The scheme attracted 92 letters of objection, including strong protests from Egremont and Cleator Moor Town Councils, alongside 97 letters of support. Concerns centered on visual impact, noise and traffic.

Nick Ford, a Cleator Moor town councillor, had objected to the plans, claiming the park would “permanently scar the land for generations”.

He welcomed the appeal rejection, adding: “It would have been detrimental to the area’s economy and tourism because it would have been right next to the Coast to Coast path and people would have seen it as they were coming over the hills – it’s not something people want to see in the countryside.

“Any benefits of green energy would not have justified the damage it would have done to the countryside and if we keep building on everything there won’t be much of it left to enjoy.”

For Egremont Town Council, Sam Pollen said: “I am in favour of solar energy, but it has got to be in the correct place and there was a lot of public opposition to this site.

“The issue was the position, the people I was representing did not support it. It was very close to a housing estate and near the base of Dent Fell. It is an area of natural beauty.”

And Moor Row resident Graham Calvin added: “It would have had a significant and severe visual impact locally and further afield. I do not want to leave behind this legacy for future generations.”

In rejecting the appeal, the inspector Richard McCoy said: “The proposal would cause significant harm in respects of its effects on landscape character and its visual impact. The proposal would be a stark addition to the local landscape when seen from local recreation and transport routes. The harm arising would outweigh the benefits.”

He acknowledged, however, the environmental and economic benefits of the park, which would have

been in place for 30 years and supported three farming businesses. A £10,000 community benefits package was also proposed.

A spokesperson for Castillium said: “We are obviously disappointed by the inspector’s decision. We have worked with the local community to actively take on board their comments in relation to the proposed solar park.

“This involved many alterations to the design and reducing the size of the site by more than half. Solar power offers a brilliant opportunity for the UK to improve energy security and reduce our reliance on fossil fuels.”