PEOPLE living in Wroughton are in support of the UK’s biggest solar farm being built on their doorstep, according to a study carried out by villager Steve Harcourt.

Steve, who hosts the village’s Facebook page, said 96 per cent of the 79 people quizzed about the development are in favour of it being built.

And 78 per cent of the 79 people agreed the farm, which will be the size of ten football pitches, would have little impact on the views of the West Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Last week a report published by Swindon Council’s planning team recommended the 50,000 ground-mounted PV for approval. The scheme will produce around 41MW of electricity on 200 acres.

Steve, 62, of Kerrs Way, said he was very much in favour of the solar farm.

“It will be good for the area,” said Steve. “It will bring employment. In these economic times they have struggled to attract investment. I’m pleased the council has recommended to approve it and I hope councillors vote in favour.

“At the moment the land is just sitting there. I often walk on the West Downs and I don’t think it will have a negative impact.

“The solar farm will be a major source of green energy right on our doorstep.

“We need reliable sources of non-polluting energy, and this would be a great use of land that is currently not used for anything.”

Some of the views residents gave to the survey about the development include: ‘I can’t wait to be able to point it out to my kids. What a great contribution to the UK it will be’.

Another person said: “The airfield is probably the least attractive area of the existing view. Covered with solar panels, it would at least provide a talking point, and it would be a good use of the land.”

Swindon Council’s planning team said it was recommending the scheme for approval as it would be in the public interest and the development on balance was in line with the national planning framework which promotes the creation of sustainable energies to help reach a low carbon future.

But a number of groups have come out in opposition of the plans including the West Downs (AONB) area of outstanding natural beauty, Natural England and English Heritage.

AONB director Henry Oliver said the plans would significantly reduce the beauty of the area and transform it into an industrial landscape.

Swindon Commercial Services Ltd has partnered up with the Science Museum, which owns a former airfield outside Wroughton, to create the solar farm. It is estimated energy to power 12,000 homes will be generated.

Councillors will debate the plans tonight at the council’s Civic Offices from 6pm.