A LANDOWNER near Stockbridge has said plans to install a 51,000-panelled solar farm are being made to help secure his family’s future.

Sir Frederick Hervey-Bathurst is due to submit plans for the 54-acre site at his home at Somborne Park shortly, and should permission be granted, he hopes to have the panels installed by the end of the financial year.

He said: “I’m doing this for two reasons: one is it’s been grassland for the last 25 years and I don’t want to go ploughing through it.

“The second reason is that I want to support the house I live in for the next generation, and the income will help to do that. This house has been in my family since 1594, and I want to do everything I can to keep it.”

Renewable energy company, Lightsource, held an exhibition at the field, off Somborne Park Road, Little Somborne, for interested residents last week.

Richard Densham, development manager of Lightsource, said: “There’s a lot to do, a lot of hoops to jump through, but we are very keen, from a moral and reputational perspective, that the site is well looked after and returned to its natural form. We’re trying to do this as responsibly as we can.”

It is expected that, once installed, the 51,348 panels should last anywhere between 25-35 years and will power 3,200 houses per year.

Mr Densham added: “Obviously the sun shines brighter at 1pm on a day in June than in the middle of February, but on average, it should power around 3,200 homes when it’s connected into the local grid with the Scottish and Southern Energy infrastructure.”

Tim Gardner, 56, a chartered surveyor of Dundridge Lane, Bishop’s Waltham, who attended the exhibition, said: “There’ll be an impact when it’s being constructed, but I think I fully support it.”

Peter Duncan, 55, a university lecturer, from Strawberry Lane, Up Somborne, said: “I think it’s a really good idea. If it’s an alternative to fracking, which I think is going to be a real problem, the more we encourage renewable methods like this the better.”