Pro solar farm group set up in village

RENEWABLE energy is the best way to meet the UK’s future power needs.

That’s the view of a new campaign group supporting a scheme to build Britain’s biggest solar farm in the Test Valley countryside.

Broughton Pro Solar says the plan to erect 225,456 solar panels on a 200-acre site at Eveley Farm in nearby Houghton will help fight climate change and ensure long-term energy needs are met.

Group leader, Pete Beckley, said it was fully behind the proposals from German green energy giant Kronos’ scheme on land owned by Test Valley councillor, Danny Busk.

Mr Beckley said: “By supporting the proposed solar farm project, we will help ensure that it all goes ahead and that it will help contribute to our future energy security and generate cleaner, renewable energy.”

His group has been set up in opposition to Broughton Against Kronos Solar (Baks), which claims that the project will turn attractive countryside into an “industrial site” resembling” a prison camp” with its proposed security fencing.

It is also worried about lorries using the narrow approach road to the construction site off Broughton Road at Chattis Hill.

Mr Beckley said his new group, which was founded at the weekend, has about 20 members.

“It’s still early days as we only started to publicise it on Saturday. The objective of our campaign is to provide Broughton people with information about the proposed farm and the benefits to us all of providing renewable energy,” said Mr Beckley He claims Baks put out “misleading” literature prior to a public meeting at Broughton, where Kronos officials explained more about the company’s plans.

“This galvanised a few of us into action, as we realised that the protesters could possibly scupper the scheme,” said Mr Beckley.

Now Broughton Pro Solar has produced its own fact sheets which it has distributed in the village.

He continued: “To have the opportunity to support a local solar farm project and have it operational in our area is a privilege and something to be proud of.

“We all enjoy the great countryside around Broughton and are very lucky to live in such a lovely area, but we do not believe that the solar farm will be detrimental to this.”

A Kronos spokesman said the firm would be submitting its planning application to TVBC shortly.

Both Houghton and Broughton Parish Councils have yet to comment on the proposals.

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