DEVELOPERS have dropped plans for a huge and strongly contested solar farm near Alresford.

Godsfield Solar Farm, planned for farmland off Godsfield Lane, was one of the most controversial applications in recent years.

The site was going to be on 54 acres, generating enough power for 3,000 homes.

The plan divided opinion of groups and individuals across Winchester with over 600 objections and 170 supporters.

Groups such as British Horse Society, Bighton Parish Council and the Alresford Society sent in objections. Alan Titchmarsh, former chancellor of Winchester University, added his objection, saying the site was "totally inappropriate".

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But Winchester Action on the Climate Crisis (WinACC) was among supporters of the plan.

At the time of writing, there are no new documents about the plan on Winchester City Council's planning portal. However, the developer, Anesco, confirmed to the Chronicle that the application had been withdrawn.

A spokesman said: “Anesco has withdrawn its application for a solar farm at Godsfield. This is as a result of technical challenges relating to land use and the grid connection rather than any planning-related issues. We are now in the process of finding an alternative location to site the development.”

The proposal's objections were due to the remoteness of the area and that it would have intruded on a 60-mile footpath, from Winchester to Windsor.

A comment from Dr Peter Lippiett, of Cox’s Hill, Twyford, was typical of the people writing in support: “We have enormous need of solar energy as we confront the climate crisis. This is a carefully thought-through plan with minimum local impact that could be a significant pioneer locally for the many farms that will need to ‘grow’ electricity on their land.”

Reacting to the plan's withdrawal, WinACC member Bill Gunyon said: “WinACC is disappointed that the Godsfield solar farm plans have been withdrawn. Recent chaos in energy markets highlights how urgently the UK needs low cost, local generation of clean electricity.”

Dave Ramm, Open Spaces Society, local correspondent for Hampshire, said: “From a country-lovers' point of view I hope they don't find any other locations suitable either. Talk about saving the planet by destroying what we have got - bit by bit!

“Without any opportunity for an alternative route, the Three Castles Path would have been seriously degraded. But I'm sure the vast majority of the nearly thousand who submitted comments, will now be very pleased to hear that this latest proposal has finally been abandoned.

“It's now 30 years since this long distance path from Windsor to Winchester was first published, so I've arranged to walk this Path during the first week in May and see everything, including the bluebells - once again.”

Jan Field, chairman of the Alresford Society, said that this was a good result for that site and that the new location should not be “next to an important long-distance footpath through lovely countryside.”

The developer was unable to give details of the new location at this time.

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