Solar farm will 'spoil the countryside'By Laura Nightingale
February 28, 2013
VILLAGERS flocked to a public exhibition to view plans to build a solar farm on a bluebell bank in Winchfield.
TGC Renewables, a solar energy project developer, hopes to set up the solar farm in Bagwell Lane.
On February 22 the company gave a presentation at Winchfied Village Hall to gauge public response before submitting a formal application to Hart District Council.
Dozens of residents attended the event to quiz Roy Amner, development director, on the plans to rent a raised field for 25 years and install 30,000 rigid panels.
The main concern expressed by objectors was the “detrimental visual impact” the development would have on visitors to the village and people who lived there.
Others were concerned that thieves could potentially target the solar panels for their scrap metal value for aluminium and copper.
Farmer George Adams, who lives next door to the site and has lived in the village since 1946, said: “I think it is very sad.
“It is spoiling the countryside.
“There are people who come from quite a long distance to visit Winchfield. I know lots of people that come through that area, including dog walkers, horse riders and children up the canal.”
Andrew Renshaw, chairman of Winchfield Parish Council, described the proposal as a “prison wall camp”.
He said: “It is going to look absolutely awful. The developers say they look to go on land which is not so good agriculturally, but this land is good, so why have they hit on us?
“You do not have to have much of an imagination or sense to find suitable sites.”
During the exhibition, many objectors wanted to remain anonymous fearful for being judged as “nimbys”.
One Bagwell Lane objector said: “Should this go ahead, God forbid, the traffic going in and out of the area is going to be terrible and the proposed fencing is hideous.
“The thought of tuning it back to agricultural land after the 25 years is ridiculous. Apparently Winchfield can generate 3.16 kilowatts a day, but other places including Alton and Bristol can generate more.
“It needs to be in the right area, there are plenty of other areas.”
Another villager said: “It is a nice drive through the village and in the spring the banks are full of bluebells. It is very pleasant and would take a long time to grow back.”
It is proposed that lambs will be farmed on the same site.
The Hartley Wintney Solar Action Group committee and the Hartley Wintney Operation Noah Group welcomes the plan.
Paul Tomlinson, of the Solar Action Group, said: “It is perfectly reasonable to expect solar to form part of the UK’s energy mix.”
Mr Amner has promised that there would be no exterior lighting on the site and to prevent vandals and thieves, a 3m high fence would border the panels and infra-red CCTV would be installed.
Mr Amner said: “The solar panels are entirely passive so there will be no noise and no glare.
“It will provide solar energy, and also will maintain the agricultural land.”