‘No victory for common sense’ - Warwick couple forced to remove solar panels from home
AFTER weeks of fighting, a businessman has finally been forced to take energy saving solar panels off his house after the council said they were “inappropriate and unsympathetic” to the town.
Warwick couple Barrie and Hilary Cload have decided to cut their losses and remove the panels from the roof of the Grade II listed cottage they occupy in the centre of town.
They said the reason was because the legal costs to fight the council’s decision would be too high.
The debate about whether solar panels should be installed in a conservation area caused much reaction when the Courier ran the story in August.
Mr and Mrs Cload, who live in Leycester Place, close to Lord Leycester’s Hospital, argued that increasingly owners of historic buildings in the town would be looking to save on heating costs by becoming more energy efficient.
They installed the panels so they could also benefit from the Government’s fuel subsidy set to continue for the next 25 years.
But their belated application for planning consent was met with stiff resistence from Warwick District Council who said the eight photovoltaic panels were “inappropriate and unsympathetic” and failed to conserve the chartacter of the central Warwick Conservation Area.
Mr and Mrs Cload were determined to appeal. Not least because in April this year another local man, Antony Butcher, own owned a Grade II listed building in West Street, had his restrospective planning consent approved.
But on Wednesday, Mr Cload, who owns two businesses in the town - the Art Kitchen restaurant and a separate commercial artwork manufacturing company - said: “Although I believe we had a good case for keeping the panels on our roof, justice is a very expensive procedure and we’re not that rich.
“Our legal advisers said it would cost between £4,500 and £5,000 to appeal against the district council refusal of planning consent - with no guarantee of success.
“As a result we have reluctantly decided to remove our panels, even though I can’t help thinking that this is no victory for common sense. In the coming years so many more people in Warwick will be looking to cut fuel bills and become more environmentally-friendly.”
Mr and Mrs Cload admit their four-bedroomed cottage dates back to the 1700s but say it has been 95 per cent rebuilt and could not be seen from either Lord Leycester’s Hospital or the castle. They also pointed out that several of the country’s historic royal palaces are fitted with solar panels.
They are now engaging workers to renew the roof tiles on their cottage.
Although the panels will not be wasted. Mr Cload says he plans to reinstall them, plus several more, onto the roof of their artwork company near the canal.
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Friday 24 May 2013
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