Council sends just 13 letters on huge solar farm plans

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JUST 13 consultation letters have been sent to residents about controversial plans to build a huge solar panel farm in Fareham.

Fareham Borough Council only posted the letters to households surrounding the site at Newlands Farm, in Stubbington, which is ear-marked for one of the UK’s largest solar farms.

Should it be granted, German firm IB Vogts will construct 4,166 solar voltaic panels, laid out in rows totalling five miles in length, on the site.

Letters were sent to residents living in Newgate Lane, and HMS Collingwood. Southern Water and the Defence Estate Organisation also received the letters.

People only have until November 30 to make comments before a decision is made.

Julie Harding, of nearby Stroud Green Lane, has criticised the council, saying letters should be sent to more homes outside the area.

She told The News: ‘The council is obliged to send out letters where houses pretty much touch where the solar area is going to be but there are several roads that overlook it that didn’t get letters.

‘I think this is a bigger issue than just Stubbington – it affects Gosport, Fareham and Lee-on-the-Solent. They need to know.

‘I just think it will be disastrous for the landscape and the public.

‘So many residents use it to walk their dogs or have a walk in the countryside.

‘People are not clued up.

‘I don’t think half the people of the village probably know about the consultation.’

Fareham Borough Council leader Cllr Sean Woodward said he will look into sending letters out to a wider audience.

He said: ‘I would imagine that the policy with neighbourhood notification is that you send them to all the properties that adjoin the site.

‘We’ve put notifications up for miles around.

‘It’s a development proposal in a strategic gap, something the council is not taking lightly by any means.

‘It’s a major application and it will take some time.

‘Councillors have put it in their newsletters, so it’s getting wider publicity.

‘It’s a huge development in the countryside on good quality agricultural land.

‘It’s very important it gets wider publicity and I will look to see it’s given and extend it further if possible.’