Bid for solar panels on extension of 500-year-old thatched cottage rejected

Ian Evans has been denied permission to install solar panels on the roof of part of his house in Cal

Ian Evans has been denied permission to install solar panels on the roof of part of his house in Calford Green - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

A former helicopter pilot's bid to go green by installing solar panels on the roof of an extension to his Grade II listed home in Kedington has been thwarted by planning chiefs. 

Ian Evans, who owns the 500-year-old thatched cottage near Haverhill, applied to the planning department for listed building consent to have solar panels fitted onto the slate roof extension that was added to his home around eight years ago. 

Mr Evans applied for the planning permission back in February but found out last month that his application was denied. 

Ian Evans has been denied permission to install solar panels on the roof of part of his house in Cal

Ian Evans applied for planning permission for the solar panels earlier this year - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Mr Evans, who bought the house back in 2003, said: "When I bought the property it was in a pretty delipidated state although it had been lived in. 

"I have done everything I can to make this house as ecologically friendly as I possibly can.

"I have spent nearly £200,000 restoring and preserving the property, within the constraints of what you are allowed to do to listed buildings. For instance you are not allowed double glazing. But I have done everything I can. 

"As solar panel technology has moved on nowadays they do not have a lot of protective silver in them, but now you can get them virtually solid black.

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"It occurs to me that solid black on a slate roof is not that much of a change in appearance and so I applied for listing building permission to install solar panels.

"It is extremely frustrating, it is not the end of the road as there is an appeal procedure which I will probably pursue. 

Ian Evans has been denied permission to install solar panels on the roof of part of his house in Cal

Ian Evans was told the solar panels would appear in stark contrast to the more mellow and natural colour of the existing slate roof - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

"My personal contribution to global warming has been enormous. I spent the whole of my professional life as a helicopter pilot and I could not have put more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere if I tried.

"I feel a real moral obligation to try and redress that balance as much as I possibly can." 

The decision notice made by the planning officers at West Suffolk Council, said: "The panels will sit proud on the roof plane to the front and incorporate a black glass face which would appear in stark contrast to the more mellow and natural colour of the existing slate roof and thatched roof of the original dwelling.

"The visually prominent panels would appear as an incongruous addition, detrimental to the architectural features which contribute towards the building's significance, incorporating the use of unsympathetic materials causing harm to its significance."

A spokesperson for Kedington Parish Council said the councillors did not have any objections to the solar panels. The panels, which would be grey in colour, on a grey slate roof would not look out of place and are in accordance with West Suffolk Council's green energy policies.

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