AN ENERGY firm has won an appeal to build a test mast for a proposed new wind farm in countryside north of Winchester.

TCI Renewables applied to build the temporary mast to test wind conditions on farmland at Woodmancott Down, near Popham.

Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council turned it down after protests it would be a blot on the landscape.

But a planning inspector approved it on appeal, saying the economic and environmental benefits of the development outweigh the “slight and temporary impact on the area’s character.”

The mast will provide site specific wind data to help decide if the site is suitable for seven turbines upto 125 metres tall.

Bosses say the wind farm could produce enough electricity to power 7,000 homes a year.

Bruce Hutt, director at TCI, said: “We are delighted with the inspector’s decision and plan to be erecting the mast over the coming weeks.

“The appeal decision hightlights the need for councillors to take a positive approach towards renewable energy developments in the area.”

All three Winchester city councillors representing Wonston and Micheldever oppose the wind farm, city Councillor Stephen Godfrey told Micheldever Parish Council.

Meanwhile action group, Stop Woodmancott Windfarm, is raising funds to fight the green scheme.

A full planning application could be submitted next year.