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Fareham solar farm developer rethinks scheme after withdrawing planning bid
THE firm that aims to build a giant solar farm in the Hampshire countryside has not abandoned its controversial scheme – despite withdrawing its planning application at the last minute.
Today Fareham councillors were due to discuss the £40m Sunsave plan – but the firm pulled out.
However, the Daily Echo can reveal the company still aims to push ahead with the scheme which would provide electricity for 13,500 homes.
The company says it withdrew its application after learning it was going to be rejected by planners. And it says it now wishes to consider the objections in more detail.
The scheme, which would see 4,166 racks of photovoltaic panels on land at Newlands Farm between Fareham and Stubbington, has divided the community. There have been 196 letters of objection.
But there have also been 46 letters of support sent to the council and a signed petition received from 212 members of the Gosport and Fareham Friends of the Earth.
Concerns about the plans in an officers’ report to the council noted that the areas proposed had not been surveyed for protecting species such as birds, bats and reptiles.
There were also concerns about its visual impact on the countryside.
Anton Milner, director of Sunsave, said: “We are still very committed to the project. We want to have time to have look at the concerns and have dialogue.”
He added: “We want to make sure that everything is right about the project.”
Fareham council leader Councillor Sean Woodward said: “Obviously there will be an awful lot of people breathing a sigh of relief around Stubbington.”
The withdrawal has been dubbed a blow to renewable energy in the county by Hampshire Friends of the Earth leader Ray Cobbett.
He said: “It is important that we support renewable energy.
“If councils in Hampshire talk about it, but then turn down renewable energy, every time an application is turned down it sends out negative noises about renewable energy in the county.”