Positive feedback on proposals for 50-acre solar farm

Solar Panel Array

Published in the Portsmouth News on 25th November 2014


PLANS for a new solar farm have been given a cautious welcome.

Proposals for a site west of the B2177 between Bishop’s Waltham and Waltham Chase went on show to the public.

And a large majority of those who attended gave positive feedback on the 50-acre farm being proposed by company Solafields.

More than a third filled in questionnaires at the consultation at Jubilee Hall in Bishop’s Waltham, with 86 per cent showing their support for the renewable energy scheme.

Residents said they were happy with how screened the farm will be and how the land would still have agricultural use.

Mark Candlish, director of Solafields, said: ‘We were delighted at the turnout and positive response from the community.

‘Many people were pleased to see how well screened the site is.

‘This is due to the surrounding mature trees and hedges.

‘They were also surprised to learn the land would be grazed by sheep – thus continuing the agricultural use – and that wild flowers would be introduced, creating a haven for bees, birds and other wildlife.

‘We continue to welcome feedback and encourage people to get in touch to give us their views as we shape the proposal.’

A number of representatives from different groups went along including the Waltham Ramblers and the Bishop’s Waltham Society.

Audrey Brown, a member of the ramblers group, said: ‘When I first saw the proposal, the footpath ran right through the middle of the solar farm and I flagged this up with the developers.

‘Now, the footpath is down one side so it shows they are keen to listen to what people in the community have to say.

‘They were helpful at the consultation and if they stick to the plans they showed us, the proposal should be a good one.’

Other visitors to the consultation made a number of suggestions to how the plan could be improved.

These included helping the community more by funding the Botley Railway Path, installing kissing gates on footpaths and supporting the North Pond project.

As previously reported by The News, the proposed solar farm would generate up to 15 megawatts – enough renewable electricity to power around 4,545 households.

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