A ROW over plans for a new 'green gas mill' look to have been reignited after developers lodged a bid to change some of the planning conditions.

The controversial power plant is set to be built in Sparsholt after being given the green light at a planning meeting in October 2016.

It came after the plans were rejected due to traffic issues in April 2016.

As previously reported, the plans for a so-called green gas mill at Sparsholt College drew objections from seven parish councils, among others, representing more than 7,000 Winchester residents.

The college claims the plant – an anaerobic digester which turns grass into gas – can produce power for nearly 5,000 homes a year.

It would need 60,000 tonnes of fuel to do this which green energy company Ecotricity, who is behind the plans, said would be sourced within a 15-kilometre radius of the college and transported by tractor and trailers.

Now, Ecotricity is seeking to make changes to the type of digesters, relocate and resize some of the infrastructure and change the design and appearance of the accompanying education building, which would be used to train the next generation of green gas engineers.

Laura White, project manager, wrote to Winchester City Council planners to say: "The amendments... are required following the appointment of a technology provider. Due to the competitive tendering process and patented technology of each provider, it was essential that the approved plans were kept generic for the purposes of securing planning permission."

Ms White added that since the plans were approved, nearly £2million of potential funding had been withdrawn, meaning the education building designs would need to be altered. According to Ms White, the potential funding was withdrawn due to "RHI (Renewable Heat Incentive) Regulations being delayed".

She said: "The design of the building has therefore been revised to deliver a comparable educational facility albeit at a substantially reduced cost."

The revised building would be capable of holding 128 students.

However, the new application has opened up old wounds for some campaigners, who have revisited the issue of huge traffic increase on the areas small roads.

Felicity Gillibrand, from Crawley, wrote: "Whilst we acknowledge the environmental benefits of a bio-digester, these environmental benefits will be lost if the site of the bio-digester is wrong for other equally important environmental and community reasons.

"To put it shortly, the road infrastructure leading to Sparsholt College will be unable to sustain the size and volume of commercial vehicles necessary to keep Sparsholt operational. Unless some sort of enforceable traffic control can restrict the movement of commercial vehicles to the A30 and the Stockbridge to Winchester road to reach Sparsholt, havoc will be caused in the surrounding narrow country lanes."

Ian Hay, from Sparsholt, added: "The education centre was one of the important factors of the application; to ask this to be scaled down in size shows that this is not important to the operation and therefore is not being truthful.

"To alter the feedstock from green crops to straw is the first stage to applications to change the fuel to household waste which, based on historical evidence of other digester operations, is totally unacceptable.

"This application must be refused at all costs."

As previously reported, city council leader Cllr Caroline Horrill was also among those who objected to the original scheme, saying at the time: "It is a commercial enterprise dressed up as an educational establishment."

However, the plans have drawn support from a number of people, including principal Tim Jackson, who said: "Although the design and appearance of the education building has by necessity changed, the facilities provided in the revised design will nevertheless provide an excellent resource.

"Sparsholt College is wholly supportive of the AD (anaerobic digestion) plant and the revisions to the education building – required to ensure the scheme can progress as intended."

A public meeting will be held in Sparsholt's Memorial Hall at 8pm on May 17, following the parish council meeting, where a representative from Ecotricity will be to explaining the new proposal.