A HUGE solar farm which would cover an area the size of 37 football pitches and generate enough energy to power 6,800 homes could be built near Old Basing.

Low Carbon Investment Management Limited has submitted plans to Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council for the proposed development at Wildwood Farm, in Newnham Lane.

The site, currently used as agricultural land, covers an area of around 37 hectares (91 acres) and is bordered by Old Basing Cemetery, Old Basing and Lychpit Recreation Ground, Oliver’s Battery and the railway line.

The company wants to build a solar photovoltaic farm with battery storage and other associated infrastructure including 11 inverters within shipping containers, two substations, internal access tracks, a perimeter fence, CCTV cameras and cabling routes below ground.

It is estimated that the panels would generate up to 22 megawatts at their peak, which would be enough to supply energy for around 6,800 homes.

The three-metre-high panels would be mounted on a frame, installed using spiked foundations 1-2 metres below ground.

Batteries would charge at off-peak times and then supply electricity to the local electricity distribution network during at times of peak energy demand.

Access to the site would be from Newnham Lane, and would be secured by two metre fencing which would be hidden by existing hedges, trees and vegetation.

There would also be a CCTV system providing 24-hour surveillance.

Officers from the borough council have recommended that the proposed development does not require an environmental assessment, because it will not have a significant effect on the environment.

Their decision report said: “In making this determination, it has been borne in mind that the effects of the development will not be irreversible.

However, the effects are likely to be prolonged as the construction/occupation of the development is expected to be for a continuous period of around 30 years – the current known estimated lifespan of solar technology.”