Plans for fourth solar farm in Test Valley unveiled

MORE solar power is heading for the Test Valley.

Wiltshire-based Solstice Renewables Ltd has announced plans to set up a medium size solar farm just east of Romsey.

Around 32,000 solar panels will be installed on agricultural land at Warren Farm between North Baddesley and Ampfield, if the scheme gets the green light.

Solstice Renewables say the farm will produce enough energy to power 2,400 average sized homes.

Director of Solstice Renewables Giovanni Maruca said: “Warren Farm is a great site for a solar park as it will be well screened from the surrounding areas. The site is low-grade land which offers exciting opportunities for biodiversity improvement and it will remain in agricultural usage for the lifetime of the project.”

The proposals will go on show to the public at North Baddesley Sports Pavilion on Monday, July 14 between 4.30pm and 8pm. “We are looking forward to meeting as many members of the local community as possible and welcome their suggestion for how this scheme can be improved,” said Mr Maruca.

Solstice is currently developing 10 sites across the UK from Devon to Leicestershire this would be its first in Hampshire.

Mr Maruca added: “We are also offering a community benefit fund of approximately £8,000 a year for the solar park’s life and we would be interested in hearing about any local social or environmental projects which we could support. We will be consulting all the neighbouring parish council about the best way to allocate the community benefit fund.”

The proposed site is 14 hectares and is currently used for grazing livestock.

Solar panels will be installed 2.5mm above the ground and laid out in rows east to west. Solstice plans to sow wildflowers and create natural habitats between the panels.

A planning application is likely to be submitted to Test Valley Borough Council later this summer say Solstice which hopes to get the solar farm up and running by next spring. Building work will take three to four months.

Hampshire County Council’s leader Roy Perry said: “Clearly there is a need for energy and sustainable energy such as solar power, is good in principle. However, much depends on the details of the scheme and its visible impact. Also the area between Romsey and North Baddesley is an important rural gap that needs to be retained and that is a factor that needs to be taken into consideration.”

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