A CONTROVERSIAL proposal to build a giant solar farm on a 190-acre site in Houghton, near Stockbridge, has been recommended for refusal by Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC) planning officials.

The solar farm would be the largest in Hampshire with 206,000 solar panels if councillors go against their officers’ recommendation and approve the plan at next week’s meeting.

German green energy giant Kronos Solar Projects has submitted the application for the site at Eveley Farm in Houghton, owned by Test Valley borough councillor Daniel Busk.

It could generate 49MW of electricity – enough to power 12,500 homes.

But planning officer Katherine Fitzherbert-Green has recommended refusal on the grounds of its impact to the character of the landscape, and insufficient information submitted to show that the farm could have been built on lesser quality agricultural land.

In her report prepared for Test Valley Borough Council’s southern area planning committee, she said: “The proposed development, by reason of its size and scale, would have an unacceptable impact upon the landscape character of this location.

“With the magnitude of change imposed upon the character of the area, it would have an adverse visual impact on the enjoyment of the countryside.”

Houghton Parish Council, Broughton Parish Council, Hampshire Gardens Trust and the Campaign to Protect Rural England have also voiced objections.

The planning committee will consider the application on Tuesday.