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Plans submitted for Hampshire’s ‘biggest solar farm’

Solar Farm Hampshire

BIG IDEA The land on the Southwick Estate for the proposed solar far

Published in the Portsmouth News on Monday 11th November 2013

by Elise Brewerton
elise.brewerton@thenews.co.uk


PLANS have been submitted for ‘Britain’s biggest solar farm’ on land near Denmead.

If it is approved, it will provide enough energy of up to 40 megawatts to power 11,000 homes.

The ambitious scheme has been drawn up by the Southwick Estate, which owns the land.

There are three parcels of land within the 200-acre scheme, which is being brought forward by Hive Energy and Welborne Solar.

The site is just south west of Denmead, in Waterlooville, off Belney Lane.

The Southwick Estate is made up of 7,000 acres and lies between Waterlooville and Fareham.

Ray Cobbett, co-ordinator for Hampshire Friends of the Earth, welcomes the plans.

He said: ‘This is certainly the biggest application I have seen.

‘The one that was approved in Fareham was for 5mw, this is for up to 40mw.

‘It looks like the biggest in Hampshire. I do feel this is the way forward and it looks as if it will be relatively unobtrusive in a very sensitive area.

‘It will be known to walkers, birders and people who like the countryside.

‘My first impression is that it will make a very significant addition to the area’s solar resources and make a big contribution to renewable energy in this area. It will be a major benefit.’

The land falls within Winchester City Council’s boundaries but borders the new West of Waterlooville development where 2,000 homes are being built.

A consultation was held in August and the majority of the responses were positive.

But not everyone backs the scheme.

Resident Julie Ayling said: ‘I cannot understand the need for such a large site on agricultural land which is at a premium and has been farmed successfully for generations.’

A spokesman for the estate said it is an opportunity to bring it into the 21st century and a good use of what is poor-quality farmland.

A lease will be put in place and, at the end of it, Southwick Estate will be given the option of returning the land for other greenfield uses.

The spokesman disputed Mr Cobbett’s assertion that it is one of the biggest in the country and said there are much larger schemes currently going through planning.

The consultation ends on 19th November. Representations should be made to Winchester City Council.

 

OTHERS IN THE PIPELINE…

Solar farms are set to spring up across the area.

Here are the ones with planning permission and ones that are in the pipeline.

· Fareham Borough Council approved plans by Vogt Solar Ltd to cover a 66-acre site at Newlands Farm, in Fareham, with up to 90,000 solar panels. There was major opposition to the plans, from residents.

· A consultation was carried out in the summer over plans for a 60-acre site in Horndean to be converted into a solar farm. If it is given the go ahead, more than 40,000 panels will generate enough energy to power almost 3,000 homes from Hazelton Farm, Horndean.

· Earlier this year, 18,500 solar panels were installed on 35 acres of farmland off Day Lane, Lovedean, and are harnessing sunlight to supply around 1,350 homes.

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