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Controversial solar farm before planners
NEW plans for a controversial solar farm in a Hampshire town are to go before planners.
And they are being recommended for approval this time.
German firm Vogt Solar has scaled down its proposals for the project, at Newlands Farm, near Fareham, which it pulled at the last minute hours before it was due to be discussed by planning chiefs.
The revised scheme, half the size of the previous plan, which would have made it the biggest solar farm in the UK, was exhibited to the public in June.
The 28-hectare solar farm is proposed for arable farmland between Fareham and Stubbington and would generate enough power for around 5,200 homes.
It would be built by Sunsave Ltd (Fareham) and generate 17 megawatts of electricity, compared with the 47 megawatts in the previous £40m scheme.
The company has said it withdrew its application after learning it was going to be rejected by planners.
It had attracted 196 letters of objection but also 46 letters of support and a signed petition received from 212 members of the Gosport and Fareham Friends of the Earth.
Thirty-three letters have been sent objecting to the plans, which raise issues like the impact on wildlife, concern that this would be a premature resolution to proposals for a Stubbington bypass, loss of green space and views of countryside, glare from panels and noise.
However, there were also 16 letters in support saying there was a need for sustainable energy generation, the smaller scale was acceptable and that this was a more efficient and less intrusive method to produce energy.
The council’s director of planning and environment commented that the amended scheme was far less extensive and any adverse landscape and visual impact would be greatly reduced.
Council officers, having recommended refusal last time, are recommending the plans be permitted.
The proposal is to be decided on at a Fareham Borough Council planning committee meeting tomorrow.
Gosport & Fareham Friends of the Earth and allies will gather outside the building to show their support for the plans holding banners.
They say it answers the need for more renewable energy, which will lower carbon dioxide emissions.
Member Norman Pasley, said: “This is an exceptional opportunity for Fareham to play its part in Britain’s clean energy future.”
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