A SOLAR farm the size of 80 football pitches could be built on land belonging to a historic Hampshire estate.

Energy company Solarcentury wants to create the 80-acre facility, which could power more than 4,000 homes, at the Broadlands Estate in Romsey.

It is not yet known how many panels the farm would have, but the company says it would generate 16 megawatts, which could power 4,800 homes in the area.

Solarcentury has not yet submitted a planning application, but this is set to follow after a public consultation.

The Broadlands Estate is owned by Lord and Lady Brabourne. It is the former home of Lord Mountbatten, it covers more than 4,000 acres and is said to date back to the 10th century.

The planned solar farm would be among the biggest solar farms in Hampshire.

The largest one in the county could be being built at Eveley Farm in Houghton, near Stockbridge, and would cover 200 acres and provide power to more than 31,000 homes.

Broadlands Estate previously upset residents after announcing plans for a controversial Tesco store on the grounds.

Broadlands Estate manager Richard Jordan-Baker said: “We are currently in discussions with Solarcentury.

“Having a responsible attitude to, and an interest in, renewable, sustainable energy, the estate is considering Solarcentury's approach.”

A spokesperson for Solarcentury said: “The site has been carefully chosen for its potential to deliver high levels of solar-powered electricity to the local grid and is expected to generate enough electricity to power the equivalent of over 4,000 homes.”

Test Valley borough councillor for Romsey Extra, Ian Hibberd, said: “In general terms it is a good thing, as long as it has not got an adverse impact on the area.

“If the solar farm is in an appropriate area then I think that would be acceptable.”

Residents in the area will receive letters about the plans within the next three weeks and a public consultation meeting will be held on June 27 at Woodley Village Hall.

Solarcentury said that more details would be announced in the next few weeks.