Solar farm with up to 40,000 panels could be installed

POWER The solar farm completed at Lovedean in April this year. Picture: Peter Browning
POWER The solar farm completed at Lovedean in April this year. Picture: Peter Browning

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A LARGE solar farm comprising 40,000 panels could be built close to the A3(M).

Resource Parks Limited is investigating a plan to build the solar farm on about 60 acres of land at Hazelton Farm, which is located off the B2149 between Horndean and Rowlands Castle.

The site could generate enough electricity to power almost 3,000 homes.

The proposals, if they come to fruition, would be the second solar farm in the Horndean area.

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.

But the latest plans have caused concerns among some community leaders.

Resource Parks Limited asked East Hampshire District Council whether a Full Environmental Impact Assessment was needed before progressing the plans.

The council has said the assessment is not needed, but this has caused concern at the parish councils in Horndean and Rowlands Castle.

John Pickering, chairman of Rowlands Castle Parish Council, was concerned as the site – currently used for grazing sheep and stock car racing – will border the proposed Havant reservoir and is currently a largely rural area.

He told The News: ‘This is a big proposal.

‘We have not got anything we can use as a comparison.

‘It needs to be considered properly.’

But the proposals were welcomed by green groups.

Ray Cobbett, from Emsworth, who is co-ordinator for Hampshire Friends of the Earth, said: ‘I am delighted and welcome as many as we can fit in sustainably.

‘We can expect to see a growth of solar farms throughout the sunbelt along the south coast running from Eastbourne to Weymouth.

‘It’s quite fertile for solar farms.’

A planning report states the panels would be a maximum of around 3m from the ground.

They would be fixed and will not track the sun – therefore not causing any noise.

David Payne, who is acting as agent for the development, said: ‘The main impact of the development would be visual, although the site slopes down to the south and is well-screened with trees. It’s early days yet. It’s got potential.’

Plans for a solar farm off Tanners Lane, Fareham, will be decided at a meeting tomorrow.