ENERGY company Centrica has announced plans to build a new power plant in Chineham.

The firm have spoken to local councillors about the prospect of building a small gas-fired plant on an unused patch of land in Chineham Business Park, to help secure energy supplies in the local area.

The plant is expected to help produce enough energy to power around 20,000 homes and a formal planning application is to be sent to Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council later this month.

Chineham Councillor Paul Miller said: "I think we have come to an understanding where power generation in this country is a bit borderline as we have been lucky to have had a couple of mild winters.

"But if we were to have a severe winter there may be a shortage of power, so this plant could help generate power and be a backup power supply.

"Centrica have to be sensitive to the proximity of the plant and the people in the local area so we have to make sure it is right for them.

"We also have to consider the visual appearance of the plant because we don't want stacks coming out of the ground so we would have to discuss this with them.

"Everything has to be within the law and in the interests of the constituents before we consider accepting their plan."

Centrica supply gas and electricity to more than 11 million UK homes and businesses under the British Gas brand.

Once the plans have been received by BDBC they will then consult with local businesses and residents as part of the planning process.

Jen Snowball, consents manager from Centrica, said: "We've been working hard to identify the best possible site to ensure a minimal impact on the community, while also providing the access we need to the local electricity distribution network and gas supply.

"The site at Chineham is ideal as it will make use of a small section of currently unused land adjacent to the railway line, and at less than the size of a football pitch will be significantly smaller than the sites people tend to think of when picturing a traditional power station."

For more information on the proposed power station site visit