Plans for a vast new solar farm have been submitted, which would see hundreds of acres of farmland given over to energy production.

Under the plans submitted to Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC), a solar farm will be erected in four connected patches of land along the Hampshire/Wiltshire border between Kimpton and Perham Down. This would produce 49.9 Megawatts – estimated to be enough electricity for 16,581 homes.

However, concerns have been raised about the impact on farming in the area, and the impact construction will have on local roads.

The plans were submitted to TVBC on June 9, and detail how the site was selected. A large swathe of land from Charlton to Shipton Bellinger was examined, following the line of existing overhead power cables.

This search was then narrowed through the production of a shortlist by removing the highest quality agricultural land, and that which isn’t flat, among other criteria. Of the 14 selected, the proposed site came out on top.

The site is described as having good, or good to moderate, agricultural quality. Councillor Mark Cooper, the mayor of Tidworth, raised concerns over the use of farming land, though was neutral on the application as a whole.

He said: “We need more renewable energy to reduce our carbon footprint, though there will come a time where too much farming land will be lost to produce food. There are several examples of solar farms along the A303 within Test Valley already.”

Concerns relating to the impact of solar farms on farming have been raised on a number of occasions, including by the Environment Secretary in 2014. However, their impact on farming varies, with a number of farmers using it to diversify their income and help their farms survive, while others see animal and crops share the land the solar panels are on.

In this instance, shared production is not planned, but the developers say that other sites had the “potential for potential significant impacts on heritage assets” and may not have been available, making it the only feasible site in the area.

Cllr Connolly also said he was “disappointed” at the proposal that transport for the development be sent through Perham Down and onto Station Road, suggesting an alternative route.

He said: “Station Road is a 20mph limit and a shared environment between vehicles and pedestrians. Could the construction vehicles use Somme Road and go to Tidworth using the new link road and head South from there, through the newly improved A338 in the town?”

However, this route would see 16 lorries a day during construction pass Wellington Academy in Ludgershall, with developers saying the planned route is the shortest available.

The plans are currently being considered by TVBC Officers. If you would like to have your say, visit their planning portal and search with the reference number: 21/01749/FULLN