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Winchester planners approve solar farm in Southern Parishes


Winchester planners approve solar farm in Southern Parishes

Published in the Hampshire Chronicle on 14th December 2013


WINCHESTER planners have given the go ahead for a large solar farm.

The development, on the Southwick Estate, to the south of the Forest of Bere, could power around 5,000 homes and will cover 200 acres – the equivalent of around 150 football pitches.

It is the second successive solar farm to come before Winchester City Council’s planning committee.
At a meeting in Winchester’s Guildhall on Thursday, councillors voted overwhelmingly in favour of the plans.

The site is currently a mixture of arable and pasture land and the developers, Hive Energy, said the new site could still be used for grazing by sheep.

But Cllr Therese Evans was unhappy at the size and scale of the development.

“It will be visible from Portsdown Hill and it will be an impact on the countryside and because it is so huge, it will have an impact on the roads,” she said.

Cllr Ian Tait said: “To think we can have renewable energy without it being visible from any vantage point is cloud cuckoo land.”

Although the council received 25 letters of rejection, Southwick and Widley Parish Council supported the proposal.

It follows the a November decision to allow a huge solar farm on three fields between Alresford and Bishop’s Sutton, which councillors at the time said “would not set a precedent.”

Work at the Southwick Estate is due to begin in the New Year and a spokesman for Hive Energy said it will take no longer than five months to complete.

The planning committee recently approved a smaller scheme on farmland between Bishop’s Sutton and Alresford. Another application has been made for Folly Hill at Itchen Stoke.

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