Bunkers Hill solar farm – how to respond

21/00552/FUL Solar Farm and battery stations together with all associated works, equipment and necessary infrastructure

Bunkers Hill Farm, Reading Road, Rotherwick, Hook, Hampshire RG27 9DA

A full planning application for the Bunkers Hill solar farm at Rotherwick, Hook has been submitted.

The site proposed is:
  • Green belt (currently grade 3b farmland) of approximately 71 Ha
  • The site is within the parish of Rotherwick and the location impacts the parishes of Mattingley, Hook and Hartley Wintney
  • The location is bounded approximately by Bartlett’s Farm to Hook allotments (North to South) and the B3349 to River Whitewater (West to East).  

View & comment on the planning application

To view the application, please go online to Hart District Council planning applications. Click on “View and comment on planning applications“, and enter 21/00552/FUL in the Search box.

To submit your comments, click in the Comments tab.  You will need to login or enter your personal details. It is a good idea to write your comments first, as there is a time and word limit. You can then cut & paste them into the ‘submit comments‘ box. 

The deadline for public consultation to submit comments is Wednesday, 7th April 2021.

Aspects to consider in your comments

In preparing your comments, you may wish to cover some of the following areas.  Please use your own words – a heartfelt comment in your own words will have the most impact on the Council.

Effect on the landscape and visual amenity
  • The view of the site for walkers on the footpaths – the development will obstruct the views of walkers both from the site, and walking towards the site from across the valley.
  • The developers plan dense 10 ft high hedging and trees aimed at shielding views of the panels, but this will have an impact on views from and of the site.
  • The rolling nature of the land means it will be a very visible site.
Public Rights of Way (PRoW)
  • The PRoWs, which currently provide open views, will be enclosed by hedging, making them feel like corridors to walkers and ramblers.
  • Noise emissions from the batteries and inverters will be heard during daylight hours.
  • The views of distant hills to the east and south will vanish.
  • The attractive view of the river will be blocked by hedges.
  • The Brenda Parker Way will have no additional screening to the south, so the views to the south through the existing trees will be of the backs of the panels, 10 ft high.  New screening is proposed to the north.  If it is to be an effective screen it will have to be 10ft high and will block all views, if ineffective the panels will be visible.
  • Screening is proposed for both sides of the PRoW to the south.  This will either give views of panels as the hedge grows and thickens, or views of high dense hedge close either side.  Due to the dog legs in the path there will be few views forward or back to the valley.
  • In both PRoWs the damage to walkers’ experience would be substantial.
  • The application talks of the positive impact on maintaining the footpaths, but the applicant is already under a requirement to maintain the footpaths.
Heritage Assets (Historical, listed buildings)
  • The PRoW runs through the grounds of Borough Court (Grade 2*). The view both of Borough Court and from Borough Court will be blighted by the solar panels and / or the dense hedging.
Impact on ecology
  • The ecology of the river and valley is very delicate.
  • Glint and glare – There could be a significant impact on the permanent, seasonal and transitory bird populations.
  • Rather than walking on footpaths surrounded by hedges, walkers and ramblers are more likely to walk elsewhere, where the immediate scenery is more pleasing.  This would put additional pressure on existing footpaths and suitable alternative natural green spaces (SANGs), which are a requirement for residential developments within 5 km of the Thames Valley Special Protection area.  This will lead to an increase in maintenance costs, pedestrian footfall, and vehicular movements, which would be damaging to other existing and carefully maintained ecosystems.

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