An environmentalist says Marlow can become a ‘beacon of excellence’ for renewable energy after controversial early plans emerged for a solar farm on green belt land.

Eco-campaigner David Hampton, who has stood as the Green Party MP candidate for Marlow, said he would ‘love’ to live in a town that was known for its diverse adoption of renewable energy sources.

It comes after residents voiced their fears over plans to build a solar farm capable of powering up to 1,500 homes across green belt land in Little Marlow, which has long been earmarked by the council to be used for a country park.

Mr Hampton said: “Solar, wind and hydro can look great when done well. It’s perfectly possible for renewable energy products to be popular, unobtrusive, community backed and good looking.

“Imagine the whole town as a beacon of ‘clean-tech’ excellence – shining the way forward, for us all locally and globally. Renewable energy is all that our kids will have to play with, so it will pay us, in all sorts of ways to embrace it. Not rubbish it.

“Even the worst imaginable renewable energy projects are preferable to hydraulic fracturing (fracking) rigs in our vicinity.”

Mr Hampton went on to say that if a solar farm was truly going to be an eyesore, then it was not part of the solution.

However, concerns have arisen among country park campaigners that the solar panels would be an eyesore on the greenbelt and would take up valuable country park space.

Chairman of the Little Marlow Lakes Community Association Mike Overall is opposed to the idea.

He said: “It’s not the significance of the power generation unit in itself. Our concerns are more the impact on the proposals on the country park.

“It states in the guidance documents for the development of the country park that the site proposed is in a zone that should be retained for open space and agriculture.

“As environmentalists we see the benefits of sustainable energy. I think that something that will be a concern to most people is it could be a slippery slope that will lead to more developments.”

John Laker, who has stood as the Green Party candidate for the Wycombe constituency three times, said it was a ‘blinkered’ attitude to dismiss the use of solar power.

He said: “While people wish to use electrical equipment for everything then that electricity has got to come from somewhere.

"If those people are happy for the electricity to be turned off at some stage because not enough energy is being provided then so be it.” 

Wycombe District Council is waiting to receive full details of the application before it can comment.