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Huge solar farm could be built next to A3(M)

Solar Panels

The solar farm is being planned for land at Hazleton Farm, close to the A3(M). Picture: Tim Ireland/PA Wire

Published in the Portsmouth News on 16th July 2014 


ONE of the biggest solar farms in the area is being planned for land close to the A3(M).

Resource Parks Limited is proposing to build 60,000 panels on around 120 acres of land at Hazleton Farm, off the B2149 between Horndean and Rowlands Castle.

But the same farm, on land further north, has also been earmarked for 700 new homes and a host of much-needed community facilities.

Some community leaders are wondering if the two are appropriate side by side and Rowlands Castle Parish Council has urged a full environmental impact assessment is carried out.

Resource Parks Limited has not submitted formal plans yet, but has submitted a detailed report and is asking East Hampshire District Council whether an environmental assessment is needed.

A statement said: ‘The parish council considered would strongly support the requirement for a Full Environmental Impact Assessment, especially given the effect the proposed 50-hectare site of 3m-high reflective material might have on the surrounding area.’

It adds the development would be near the proposed reservoir at Havant Thicket.

The parish council added: ‘Were both proposals to come to fruition, the solar farm would be in close proximity to the residential property and land intended for employment use.’

The proposal is the latest in a wave of solar farm plans.

Solar parks are up and running in Fareham, Chichester and Lovedean and the largest in Britain – with 50,000 panels on 200 acres – is being built at Southwick.

The first one in the Havant borough is proposed on 46 acres of land off West Lane, Hayling Island.

The Hazleton site would generate around 23MW of electricity – enough to power 5,000 homes. The solar farm at Southwick will generate around 40MW.

David Payne, from Cissbury Consulting environmental planning, said developers believe the new housing estate and solar park could exist alongside each other.

He said: ‘We can screen it if it needs to be screened. We don’t think it’s incompatible.’

He said that the area was well-screened with vegetation and the topography of the land meant visibility of the solar farm would be low.

The main place it would be seen is from a bridge over the motorway.

Mr Payne said it was grade-four farmland.

‘It makes us believe this is a very good site,’ he said

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