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TGC Renewables wants to install 30,000 solar panels near Bagwell Lane, Winchfield
A SOLAR farm plan costing £10million is the biggest threat that Winchfield has ever faced, a meeting heard.
Energy firm TGC Renewables wants to install 30,000 solar panels on 42 acres of arable land near Bagwell Lane, which would be able to power around 1,000 homes. It has yet to submit a planning application but held a consultation evening at the village hall in February.
Villagers are concerned that the solar farm would be an eyesore and affect wildlife in the adjoining Odiham Common, a site of special scientific interest.
A meeting of Winchfield Parish Council on Monday heard that Emma Whittaker, a planning officer at Hart District Council, told TGC Renewables in December that it did not need an environmental impact assessment.
Councillor Andrew Renshaw, chairman of the parish council, said this was disappointing.
He said: “I would like to see a more proactive approach from the district council. This is an enormous application. It is the biggest threat that we have ever had.”
The meeting also heard that Cllr Jonathan Glen, environment portfolio holder at Hart, did not hear about the application until he was told about the consultation evening.
Cllr Glen, who also represents the village at Hampshire County Council, said he will speak to Hart chief executive Geoff Bonner to ask why he was not informed.
He said: “I will be asking TGC Renewables for a presentation to the council. It is relevant to ourselves, and also if they feel they can waltz in to any farmer with cash and say they have a good deal, then they will be doing it all over the place.”
Cllr Renshaw said the district council needed to emulate other district councils and draw up a policy on solar farms before the application is made.