Public urged to make voice heard on Stubbington solar farm plan

ENERGY Part of the solar farm installed by Arun Construction Services in Cornwall
ENERGY Part of the solar farm installed by Arun Construction Services in Cornwall

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PEOPLE living close to the proposed site for a new solar farm that would be the biggest in the UK are being urged to make sure their voices are heard.

IB Vogts, a German renewable energy company, has announced it wants to build the huge facility at Newlands Farm, east of Meoncross School in Stubbington.

If given the go-ahead, the farm would generate 47 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 14,000 homes.

The land is designated as a strategic gap in Fareham’s local plan to prevent Stubbington and south Fareham becoming one urban mass.

Lib Dem Stubbington ward councillor Jim Forrest said: ‘I have always said the most valuable thing for Stubbington is the green ring around it, but I think at the moment it’s an open question as to whether this would threaten that.

‘I would like to see the detailed plans before making any decision about this.

‘I want to get along to the consultation for myself so I can ask questions about their proposals.

‘And I want to consult the residents as much as possible – I would urge them to get along as well and make up their own minds.’

The company has said it intends to hold a full consultation and exhibition, but has yet to release details.

Christopher Wood, of Fareham and Gosport UKIP, recently came second in local elections for a Stubbington seat, and suggested reviving the old Stubbington bypass plans.

He said: ‘For far too long our open spaces have been built over with no benefit to our local population as the funds received for doing so have been spent elsewhere.

‘Our proposals for some of the land to be used for a bypass, flanked by hedgerows and trees, are the only sensible use which would benefit the people of Stubbington and all commuters.

‘The very idea you could turn it into this solar monstrosity appalls me and would sink our viable and much needed alternative.’

Tory council leader, Cllr Sean Woodward, branded the plans ‘shocking’, but has added that he is not dismissing the idea out of hand.

IB Vogts is intending to submit a planning application next month. If planning chiefs approve the proposals, the company could have panels in place as early as next spring.