Are these an eyesore - Businessman told to take down his solar panels - which he says are ‘hardly noticeable’
BUSINESSMAN Barrie Cload is calling on the district council to get in line with the Government on environmental policies after being ordered to remove the solar panels from his roof.
The former managing director of Volvo Trucks, who lives with his wife Hilary in a conservation area some 300 yards away from the Lord Leycester Hospital in Warwick, says only low-flying helicopter pilots would be bothered by his eight solar panels - hardly anybody at ground level would notice them.
And because the couple’s Grade II listed cottage has been 95 per cent rebuilt with a completely new roof, Mr Cload said he honestly didn’t think he would need planning consent - especially after the Government has promised everyone installing panels a subsidy on their fuel bills lasting for the next 25 years.
But local planning officers say the photovoltaic panels on Mr and Mrs Cload’s roof in Leycester Place are “inapproriate and unsympathetic” additions and “unacceptably distracting” from the particular historic character and appearance of their four-bedroomed cottage. They also fail to preserve the character of the central Warwick Conservation Area.
Mr Cload, aged 69, who owns the Art Kitchen restaurant in the town centre, has appealed against this ruling on the grounds that Warwick has lots of old buildings, many of which either have solar panels or will want to install them in the future so their owners can both save money and become more environmentally-friendly.
He said: “Even some of our country’s royal palaces have solar panels and they are certainly listed buildings. Mine certainly can’t be seen from either Lord Leycester Hospital or Warwick Castle. The district council needs to have a more consistent policy throughout Warwick and Leamington. On the one hand the Government is encouraging more of us to become energy-efficient and offering subsidies so that Britain can fulfil its legal requirements to Europe - and on the other the district council is getting in the way.
“I honestly did not think there’d be a planning issue because while our cottage dates back to the 1700s, it was almost entirely rebuilt during the 1980s before we moved in.
“It is a 95 per cent new house so it’s very difficult to understand the local planning logic.”
Mr Cload admits that he can see that council officers are simply fulfilling their duty to make sure the letter of the planning law is followed. But he maintains that they need to be able to take a less rigid view in the case of so many older, non-energy efficient homes throughout the district.
Until the appeal is heard by the planning inspectorate, Mr and Mrs Cload can keep their solar panels in place.
· In April this year Antony Butcher, who owns a Grade II listed building in West Street, Warwick, was allowed permission to keep ten solar panels on his roof after applying for retrospective planning consent.
Planners had received one neighbour’s objection but in the end relented on the grounds that they did not want to isolate part of the community by not allowing those who owned listed buildings not to have panels - especially if they caused no architectural damage to the property.
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Thursday 23 May 2013
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