PLANS have been unveiled to build a new solar farm the size of 93 football pitches.

The site would stretch across the countryside between the south east of Perham Down and Kimpton, on the Hampshire and Wiltshire border.

If approved, the farm could generate enough electricity to power 16,581 homes, developer Low Carbon UK Solar Investment has claimed.

But concerns have been raised over the loss of farming land and the impact on traffic.

The land also is an area of archaeological interest, where the remains of a Roman villa and Iron Age dwellings are thought to lay beneath the ground, according to a cultural heritage assessment.

The report notes that: “Given the recorded presence of Romano-British remains on the site, there is considered to be high potential for previously unrecorded buried remains to be present within the site.”

They recommend Test Valley Borough Council carries out an archaeological investigation to determine the nature and extent of any surviving remains before building commences, if plans are approved.

The planning application was submitted to Test Valley Borough Council on Wednesday, June 9.

One resident has expressed concern about the level of traffic the site would invite. Objecting to the proposal, Kelvin Williams, of Tidworth, wrote: “I feel that routing 16 lorries a day through Station Road in Tidworth - which is a restricted 20mph road with traffic restrictions - will be an unwelcome intrusion.

“The shortest route is not necessarily the best.”

While Councillor Mark Connolly, mayor of Tidworth, said he was “neutral” on the application, writing: “We need more renewable energy to reduce our carbon footprint though there will come a time where too much farming land will be lost to produce food.”

But on the issue of transport, he raised fears over the impact on his town.

He wrote: “I am disappointed that the applicant is directing all works vehicles to Tidworth to Station Road. Station Road is a 20mph limit and a shared environment between vehicles and pedestrians.”

The plans follow an application in 2019 by NextEnergy to build a slightly larger solar farm to the north of Andover.

The application was for an 80 hectare site to be constructed between Penton Mewsey and Hatherden, about one mile north of Andover.

The Hatherden plans were given approval by the council in July 2020, with the developers having since been given permission to install new electricity pylons.

They are currently in the process of applying to amend the application to allow an increase in maximum panel height, which they say will allow around another 3,000 homes to be powered.

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- Weyhill woman celebrates 101st birthday

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- New choir to be launched for town's youth

- Councillor calls for more trees to be planted

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