THE developer of a solar farm on the Hamptworth Estate has agreed to use an alternative cabling route following an “overwhelming” public backlash to the original plans.
Prosolia Solar Energy has been working closely with protesters over the last few weeks in an attempt to find a solution that would enable the company to connect the solar farm at Big Field to the National Grid.
Residents in Redlynch and Lover have spent the last six months battling against the installation of a high voltage cable past their homes, pointing out a viable alternative route through the estate to Pound Bottom and up Forest Road before going into The Ridge and Slab Lane.
Prosolia director Francisco Garcia Hernández said: “After a really tough month and with considerable expense we have found it is possible to pursue the southern route, which goes through the estate and past the landfill site.
“There were a few problems but we could overcome them and work has now started on this route – we want to avoid any future problems and further delays, and hope to have it completed before the end of March.”
Residents have met the news with caution, with a spokesman for the village working group saying they were “cautiously optimistic” that a solution had been found, but added that “with some technical issues still outstanding”
they “could not relax just yet”.
Black Lane resident Geraldine Neame added: “This has been dragging on since June, during which time we’ve had to deal with four applications and innumerable changes of applicant and contractors.
“All this could have been avoided if the public had been properly consulted in the first place and if breaches of planning and conditions had not occurred to exacerbate matters.”
Redlynch Parish Council chairman Lloyd Perry said the council also welcomed the decision from Prosolia “with caution”, hoping its commitment would be “fully carried out”.
l A planning application for the relocation of a substation, which had been illegally constructed on a site by Black Lane, to Big Field, along with security fencing, service access and the retention of a cabling route installed between Big Field and the Black Lane is to be considered by the New Forest National Park Authority on Tuesday. More than 100 people have objected.