PLANNING chiefs are studying an application relating to part of a former gunpowder works that closed more than a hundred years ago.

Permission is being sought to install an array of solar panels on the grounds of Eyeworth Lodge, a seven-bedroom property on the edge of Fritham.

In the early 1860s, the remote New Forest village became the home of the Schultze Gunpowder Factory.

Edward Schultze invented the world's first smokeless gunpowder, which enabled soldiers to retain a clear view of the enemy, and by 1896 the site employed more than 100 people.

Daily Echo: The Schultze Gunpowder Factory at Fritham was near the Royal Oak pub.The Schultze Gunpowder Factory at Fritham was near the Royal Oak pub.

Customers are said to have included the legendary American sharpshooter Annie Oakley, who starred in Buffalo Bill's Wild West show.

Nearby Eyeworth Pond, which appears in the 1991 film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, was used as a reservoir to store the huge amount of water needed during the manufacturing process.

The factory was operational for about 60 years and even had its own band.

Eyeworth Lodge - now part of a conservation area - is one of the few buildings that were not demolished after the works closed in 1921.

Daily Echo: Eyeworth Pond upplied the factory with the water needed during the manufacturing process. Picture: Trevor ParsonsEyeworth Pond upplied the factory with the water needed during the manufacturing process. Picture: Trevor Parsons

The proposal to install solar panels on the grounds is outlined in a public notice published by the New Forest National Park Authority.

The application says: "The history of the site is well documented and need not be repeated, but the applicant is very conscious of it and the need to safeguard this important piece of local heritage.

"Eyeworth Lodge currently has an electricity requirement of some 50,000 KWh per annum.

"The array would generate around 30,000 KWh, meaning it would meet 60 per cent of the dwelling’s electricity requirement. That is a meaningful reduction in carbon emissions.

"The array is designed to be proportionate to the size and demands of the property."

Other public notices: Southampton City Council is closing Marine Parade/Belvidere Road between its junctions with Chapel Road and Britannia Road from May 4 (8pm-6am) for manhole repairs. The works are due to be completed by May 7.

Southampton City Council is closing Highfield Avenue between its junctions with The Avenue and Portswood Road from May 5 (8pm-6am) for road lining. The works are due to be completed by May 7.

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