A SOLAR farm scheme for a field near Ropley has been scrapped because of opposition from villagers.

Hundreds of dark blue or black solar arrays had been proposed for 30 hectares of farmland between the A31 and the Watercress Line, east of Bighton Hill.

A second scheme was proposed by Intelligent Alternatives for north of the railway and west of Bighton Hill but that has also been dropped.

The company says it will look for another location on sites on a 10 mile east-west axis from Ropley.

No formal planning applications had been made but Intelligent Alternatives had been sounding out the local authorities about the plans. But the first proposed site south of the railway would have been prominent as it slopes up from the A31 dual carriageway to the railway line.

It said the farm would have had buffer zones of screening and a 'biodiversity meadow' between it and nearby homes. It would have remained in agricultural use, with sheep grazing. The The proposals are reversible and the site can be restored to its current condition.

But the first proposed site south of the railway would have been prominent as it slopes up from the A31 dual carriageway to the railway line.

Roy Amner, director of Intelligent Alternatives, said: "It is not proceeding. We had taken soundings and the local parish council expressed concerns. We listened, reviewed our position and we are now looking at alternatives in the area. We didn't want to push water uphill. We don't want to pick a fight."

Mr Amner said the firm was seeking other sites in the area with the power lines running east to west

There is currently one other solar farm in the other, off Whitedown Lane near Bishop's Sutton.

The Bighton Hill farm would have had the capacity to give to 650 homes over 40 years.

The Ropley Society welcomed the news. Chairman Carole Oldham said Ropley had a Neighbourhood Plan drawn up by villagers and the views from the village were ones of the main issues.

"We had been very concerned about an application, because it went against our Neighbourhood Plan, so we are relieved. The problem is it (the solar farm) goes somewhere else. But we are pleased the applicant has withdrawn.

"Ropley is built on roads and stream beds, it is hidden. If you stand in the village and look out what you see is lovely open countryside. People want to protect the beautiful views. That field was in middle of an area of significant visual prominence."

Ropley Parish Council was asked for comment but did not respond to the Chronicle request. In a response to East Hampshire District Council, it raised concerns about the visual impact regarding "the size of the proposal, to support power for upwards of 6,000 houses will necessitate significant additional power cable infrastructure as they will need to transport in the region of 10 times the amount of power back to the National Grid than is required to power the current number of houses in Ropley today. In the area the power cable infrastructure is predominantly overhead and thus this required cabling on its own will produce a significant visual impact."