CONTROVERSIAL plans to build a giant solar farm in the Hampshire countryside has been withdrawn just hours before it was due to be decided.

Solar farm firm Sunsave withdrew their application for the scheme, which would have provided electricity for 13,500 homesthis afternoon

The scheme was due to be heard by planners at Fareham Borough Counciil tomorrow.

The farm, built by Sunsave Ltd (Fareham) would have had 4,166 racks of photovoltaic panels on land at Newlands Farm between Fareham and Stubbington.

Council planning officers were recommending to councillors that they turn down the scheme.

Concerns about the plans in an officer's report to the council noted that the areas proposed had not been surveyed for protecting species like birds and reptiles.

A signed petition from 212 people supporting the scheme was handed over to the council, earlier this month, from members of the Gosport and Fareham Friends of the Earth.

Councillor Nick Walker the chairman of the Planning Committee said: “We have just been made aware of the withdrawal.

"This means that the Planning Committee Special Meeting due to take place on Thursday February 14  has been cancelled."