PLANS for a community-owned solar project on the site of a restored gravel pit have already attracted £1million in investment, its promoters say.

The planned project at Lower Pennington, near Lymington, is expected to attract tax relief at 30 per cent for investors and to generate an annual return throughout its life, supporters say.

Anthony Woolhouse, chairman of the co-operative that would run the project, said: “This is a fantastic start to our share offer and we are delighted that so many people are taking the opportunity to become members of the new co-op and to own a share in a truly local green energy project.

“Other community energy projects across the UK have run similar share offers very successfully, so it’s about time there was a scheme in Hampshire, especially as this is the sunniest part of the country. Everyone gains from a project like this and there were absolutely no objections to our planning application.”

The co-operative says the farm would provide electricity for 600 households over 25 years. More than 800 trees have been planted and there will also be a wild flower meadow.

A share offer to raise nearly £2.5million is open until the end of April.