|Scholes Farm in Calderdale. That roof's looking a bit bare!|
At first glance you might think Calderdale didn't need much 'Greening'. It is indeed a green and pleasant area and a Council I worked for for a while as their Home Energy Conservation Officer. They pioneered universally free insulation for the over 60s regardless of income before any other Council in the country and did so for around 8 years before funding constraints took hold. Calderdale has Hebden Bridge with the Alternative Technology Centre and more 'right on' folk than you can shake a stick (that may be later used as biomass) at. It also has Todmorden which pioneered the food growing revolution that is 'Incredible Edible'. The Council is also doing some pioneering work on new social housing with high Code for Sustainable Homes standards. So there's a lot for them to shout about on the green front but even the more proactive areas have a blind spot and Calderdale's is their Planning Department's approach to solar PV on listed buildings.
A recent planning application for a solar PV panels on a listed farmhouse at Scholes Farm is a case in point. The applicants wanted to put their panels on a section of roof that was on a new extension to the listed building that could not be seen from the road or particularly easily from anywhere else. Calderdale Planning however reckoned that this was still adversely impacting on the buildings listed status and recommended refusal. All I could imagine that the applicants could have done to make the panels more acceptable to planners would have been to bury them in the garden but this would have rather negated their purpose in life.
|St James Piccadilly Solar Panels|
I advised the applicants of their right to ask one of their local councillors to refer the matter to the Planning Committee for a decision rather than be decided by officers. Fortunately the Councillors could see that the interpretation of government planning policy in this instance was not being regarded as an enabling one but in a more restrictive light. Evidence was ably provided by Mr Adam Gillespie of the Energy Saving Trust on behalf of the applicant. The Councillors wisely approved the application.