HAMPSHIRE’s biggest solar farm has been given the go ahead by planners.

The development, to the south of the Forest of Bere, could power around 5,000 homes and will cover 200 acres – the equivalent of around 150 football pitches.

It is the second successive solar farm to come before Winchester City Council’s planning committee.

At a meeting in Winchester’s Guildhall councillors voted overwhelmingly in favour of the plans.

The site is currently a mixture of arable and pasture land and the developers, Hive Energy, said the new site could still be used for grazing by sheep.

Cllr Therese Evans said she was unhappy at the size and scale of the development: “It will be visible from Portsdown Hill and it will be an impact on the countryside and because it is so huge, it will have an impact on the roads.”

Cllr Ian Tait said: “To think we can have renewable energy without it being visible from any vantage point is cloud cuckoo land.” Although the council received 25 letters of rejection, Southwick and Widley Parish Council supported the proposal. Work is due to begin in the new year and a spokesman for Hive Energy said it will take no longer than five months to complete.