THIS is the design chosen for the controversial giant £300m biomass plant an energy firm wants to bring to Southampton docks.

Helius Energy has today revealed it is moving forward with its “marine” look for the 100MW facility, which has been vocally opposed by residents living nearby and city politicians.

The design has been chosen following the latest round of public consultations on the plan, which finished in August.

More than half of people who responded, 52 per cent, said they preferred the marine style over the “wave” and “high tech” options also put forward by the firm.

Helius said it now plans to finalise details of its plans ahead of lodging an application with the National Infrastructure Directorate of the Planning Inspectorate later this year.

The application will also include an environmental statement, a consultation report setting out the company’s formal response to the comments made during the consultation, and other reports giving detailed information about the project.

Because the Biomass scheme is a “nationally significant infrastructure project” under the Planning Act 2008, the independent planning inspectorate will assess the application rather than Southampton City Council, with the final decision resting with the Government.

As reported, last month civic chiefs abandoned plans to hold a referendum in Millbrook and Freemantle, near to where the giant plant would be built, after costs spiralled from an initial £5,000 to £75,000.

Members of campaign group No Southampton Biomass had called on council leaders to instead spend the cash obtaining expert legal advice to help oppose the project.

Once the planning inspectorate has formally accepted Helius’ application, members of the public can register as interested parties to comment on the scheme.