Poll: What do you think? Are solar panels out of place in Stalham High Street conservation area?

Solar panels on a roof in Stalham High Street.
PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY Solar panels on a roof in Stalham High Street. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Monday, October 15, 2012
9:45 AM

A man who wants to keep solar panels on his north Norfolk conservation area roof looks set to have fallen victim of a planning policy clash.

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Solar panels on a roof in Stalham High Street.
PHOTO: ANTONY KELLYSolar panels on a roof in Stalham High Street. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Nearly 200 people have registered their support for Mr J Dace’s bid to keep the panels on the roof of 129 High Street, Stalham.

His retrospective planning application also has the backing of North Norfolk District Council’s sustainability team, which says it would “deliver a contribution to the supply of renewable energy in the district.”

And the National Planning Policy Framework requires councils to support energy efficiency improvements to existing buildings “unless material considerations indicate otherwise.”

But Mr Dace could be told next week to take the 16 panels down or face enforcement action.

The scheme has been opposed by the council’s conservation, design and landscape manager, concerned at the panels’ prominence on the property’s front roof, facing High Street, and their wider impact on the setting and character of the Stalham conservation area.

A report to Thursday’s district council development committee says:

“This is a situation where two planning policy issues pull in opposite directions.”

The application has been recommended for refusal because planning officers believe the panels’ “contemporary appearance” on a traditional building have created “an uncomfortably stark contrast which is harmful to the appearance of the building and the wider conservation area.”

The committee has also been recommended to authorise enforcement action if the panels are not removed within six months.

The conservation manager’s report says the panels could be seen up and down High Street, and from the busy walkway leading to and from Tesco. The building, home to a ground-floor hairdresser with flats above, was also next to one identified for local listing.

Mr Dace’s agent has challenged the conservation manager’s view. In a document addressed to the council the agent says: “Whilst conservation is vitally important to heritage assets, it does not mean that they and their users should not be allowed to move forward with modern technology.”

The agent also draws planners’ attention to the sign on the nearby Original Factory Shop, saying it was at street level, visible to all and did not appear to have been designed to take the conservation area into account.

Mr Dace’s application has been backed by 29 letters of support. He also conducted a Stalham High Street survey in which 161 of 196 respondents, asked whether they had an opinion about the roof of number 129, chose the option: “Yes - think good idea and not a problem visually”; a further 34 said they did not care. One stated that they did not think solar panels should be allowed.

32 comments

  • Solar panels are quite expensive and the concept to fit them into a matching roof is even more so. i still applaud people who use solar panels at least they are aware of their carbon footprint

    Report this comment

    Gorlmouth

    Monday, October 15, 2012

  • Difficult to have an informed opinion without seeing a photograph of the panels. Any reason why no pictures with the story? (except the pointless "Welcome to Stalham")

    Report this comment

    JackH-1938

    Sunday, October 14, 2012

  • Doesn't matter if you like em or loath em, come the next great storm they (and the windmills) will all go flying into the North Sea anyway.

    Report this comment

    expat

    Monday, October 15, 2012

  • Personally myself I think solar panels are really unsightly, there's a house, I don't know exactly where that you can see when you go on the train to Norwich from Yarmouth that has them sticking up just like the ones at Stalham. Why on earth can't solar panels be inset into the roofs, rather than looking as if they just sit on top of them, they probably wouldn't look half as bad, you would think that a solar panel companies would have come up with that sort of idea by now, but no.

    Report this comment

    Spooky

    Sunday, October 14, 2012

  • Having spent some time thinking about this. What is the difference between fewer solar panels and skylights. The extra expense should be a consequence of owning a home in the "conservation area". How many of these homes are energy efficient anyway? If the property is in a conservation zone how come the orginal factory shop can have such an horrendous sign? Is the original factory shop selling products artisan producers to allow such ann offence.

    Report this comment

    George Ezekial

    Monday, October 15, 2012

  • So Stalham council would be enforcing a take down notice with the backing of a single public opinion and that of their officers interpretation of local law and attitudes to energy saving, self reliance and .... rectitude. what a waste of officers time in economically hard times, when exactly the opposite should enthral planning officers, i.e. approval!

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Sunday, October 14, 2012

  • Speaking as someone who actually has solar panels i can safely say that the benefits are great. i have them on my house and my boat and have certainly saved money and also have lowered the carbon footprint. The 10 percent is poppycock. i use them i know the benefits if we all lived by what we read in the media no one would do anything

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    Gorlmouth

    Tuesday, October 16, 2012

  • Rules on when permission required are complex and changing frequently. Even planners dont allways understand them so dont blame this guy. You cant see them when driving along Street. Only slightly walking one side and only if with head at funny angle! Photos taken from private property so irrelevant. View from 'busy' footpath from Tescos is where I suspect this all stems from. I bet the shop keepers in Stalham wish it were busy. Hardly ever see anyone on it! People obviously arent offended by them or think theyre a problem. Loads apparantly havent yet noticed them and theyve been there a year! Lets get real! and with it! We should applaud the guy for doing something for the shops, us all, and the planet.

    Report this comment

    Retals1

    Wednesday, October 17, 2012

  • So the design and landscape manager is complaining about the solar panels at *roof level*, yet not about the monstrosity of that blue sign at *first floor level*. Priorities Priories

    Report this comment

    NorthCity

    Monday, October 15, 2012

  • Show us the panels! I know it's raining, but we all like pictures!

    Report this comment

    Caister Waster

    Sunday, October 14, 2012

  • They look out of place on any house in any area but with the prices of Gas and Electric I would not moan at anyone who wants to try and reduce there bills. maybe in the future Solar panels can be made to look like the slate or tiles we have on our houses. As for the planning polices well before they start reading from there polices about how out of place these solar panels are what about how out of place the wind turbines are off the coast but no as they have probably benefited from the cash inflow from it.

    Report this comment

    pa012d9924

    Tuesday, October 16, 2012

  • Throughout this country it is impossible to visit once glorious views without seeing a host of gigantic ugly expensive, inefficient wind farms. The sea views from Yarmouth and Cromer are classic examples this. Solar panels in Stalham High street pale into insignificance. They are invisible from street level . As a resident of Stalham, I find that the High Street is far from being a pleasant sight at the best of times. so a few solar panels make little difference.

    Report this comment

    norman hall

    Monday, October 15, 2012

  • Love them or hate them, that is not the point of this article. I am all in favour of alternative energy methods, however, you still need planning permission, these were erected without approval and as such should be removed until approval is given, not apply for it retrospect. If these are allowed to remain then the flood gates could open for people doing whatever they want and getting away with it. If we use the alternative energy as an excuse for these panels then why shouldn't I just erect a couple of wind turbines on my land and apply for permission at a later date? People complain about the big blue sign on the shop, rest assured it would have very quickly been removed if it had been erected without permission. They should come down.

    Report this comment

    Mr T

    Wednesday, October 17, 2012

  • Agree with JackH - we need to see what it looks like. But the local people need to consider if it will affect their ability to sell or the price of their property. These things are plug ugly by any standards. Just because they 'seems; ecologically sounds is not the point. And anyway, they use horrid minerals that cost the earth in all senses to extract. Wrecking our environment to save our environment is a bit silly don't you think? BTW Mr Redman,the sun probably shines even more in Turkey and as I recall they don't have architecture quite like ours either.

    Report this comment

    Richard Woods

    Sunday, October 14, 2012

  • Is Stalham High Street a conservation area - never would have guessed.

    Report this comment

    Mylen1um

    Monday, October 15, 2012

  • Couldn't resist adding my comments. I'm not sure which I'm more suprised about, solar panels in Stalham (I am a very regular vistor & cannot ever recall seeing them) or the fact that Stalham is a Conservation Area. Now I've looked at them I can't see what all the fuss is about, they are the same colour as the roof in question, are not ugly or ruin the appearance of the High Street at all. I appauled this Man who spends his money, generates electricity & who cares for OUR planet. Our planet is too fragile for draconian planning concepts and ridiculous attitudes. MORE PANELS PLEASE!

    Report this comment

    St Nich

    Wednesday, October 17, 2012

  • Well ! Well ! Well ! Where was this "Conservation Goodie-Goodie" when the Town's market which had been a weekly attraction for Donkey's years was being uprooted and torn apart to make way for the "Tesco Heritage Site" ? If he were to channel his verbal opinions into something of a more serious and worthwhile nature I am sure that there would be a slight possibility of him being able to qualify his existence on his no-doubt numerous committees ! Of course there is allways the other option which is to turn the "Factory Shop" next door into a Nuclear Energy Station,subject to planning approval of course !

    Report this comment

    Teresa Sands

    Monday, October 15, 2012

  • Solar panels or onshore windfarms? Erm, let me think. Panels on a roof that are not much different from skylights or inefficient, monstrosities that are nothing more than a way of taking money from me and you and giving it to wealthy landowners. Now, let me think!

    Report this comment

    weaversway

    Monday, October 15, 2012

  • I work in Stalham High Street and can honestly say I have never even noticed them - probably because they are a common site everywhere! We are constantly bombarded with warnings about global warming and how we should reduce our carbon footprint - this guy does just that and is hounded. Let the panels stay!

    Report this comment

    Tony

    Wednesday, October 17, 2012

  • they better take the house down all so its made of bricks, put the house in mud and straw back, or cave, all things new look odd, but the goverment support things like this, some thing to do with the earth greenhouse,

    Report this comment

    number one

    Tuesday, October 16, 2012

  • There is no doubt that solar panels in general are damned ugly and many streets are looking one big unsightly mess with multiple satellite dishes, solar panels and wheelie bins everywhere. I think it's way past time for a clamp down. In many other parts of the world the panels are made in the form of matching roof tiles. So why can't they here?

    Report this comment

    John L Norton

    Sunday, October 14, 2012

  • one thing more do not take bigger picture of stalham old high st, it will show the shop next door with a new sign not a old painted sign on it, also show off new tesco and 5 or 6 new windmills on the windfarm, that you can see from all around for miles,

    Report this comment

    number one

    Tuesday, October 16, 2012

  • Personally myself I think solar panels are really unsightly, there's a house, I don't know exactly where that you can see when you go on the train to Norwich from Yarmouth that has them sticking up just like the ones at Stalham. Why on earth can't solar panels be inset into the roofs, rather than looking as if they just sit on top of them, they probably wouldn't look half as bad, you would think that a solar panel companies would have come up with that sort of idea by now, but no.

    Report this comment

    Spooky

    Sunday, October 14, 2012

  • Solar panels or onshore windfarms? Erm, let me think. Panels on a roof that are not much different from skylights or inefficient, monstrosities that are nothing more than a way of taking money from me and you and giving it to wealthy landowners. Now, let me think!

    Report this comment

    weaversway

    Monday, October 15, 2012

  • There is no doubt that solar panels in general are damned ugly and many streets are looking one big unsightly mess with multiple satellite dishes, solar panels and wheelie bins everywhere. I think it's way past time for a clamp down. In many other parts of the world the panels are made in the form of matching roof tiles. So why can't they here?

    Report this comment

    John L Norton

    Sunday, October 14, 2012

  • Well said Martin..Solar Panels are the future There are a lot more unsightly things than those. we owe it to ourselves to reduce the carbon footprint.same can be said for the wind turbines (yes they spoil a view) but the benefits are immense

    Report this comment

    Gorlmouth

    Monday, October 15, 2012

  • I cannot believe the UKs bureaucracy.Here in Turkey we all have solar panels,they save us money & help the environment,less power stations & windmills which many people in the UK moan about spoiling the landscapepollution ,etc.Everyone is rightly moaning about being ripped off by the energy companies & as soon as people take things into their own hands,& lay out the investment for panels they get slated.How stupid the local UK councilors are.!!

    Report this comment

    Martin Redman

    Sunday, October 14, 2012

  • Couldn't resist adding my comments. I'm not sure which I'm more suprised about, solar panels in Stalham (I am a very regular vistor & cannot ever recall seeing them) or the fact that Stalham is a Conservation Area. Now I've looked at them I can't see what all the fuss is about, they are the same colour as the roof in question, are not ugly or ruin the appearance of the High Street at all. I appauled this Man who spends his money, generates electricity & who cares for OUR planet. Our planet is too fragile for draconian planning concepts and ridiculous attitudes. MORE PANELS PLEASE!

    Report this comment

    St Nich

    Wednesday, October 17, 2012

  • Apologies for two postings, my computer seized up and I didn't think it would go, so did it again.

    Report this comment

    Spooky

    Sunday, October 14, 2012

  • There is no doubt that solar panels in general are damned ugly and many streets are looking one big unsightly mess with multiple satellite dishes, solar panels and wheelie bins everywhere. I think it's way past time for a clamp down. In many other parts of the world the panels are made in the form of matching roof tiles. So why can't they here?

    Report this comment

    John L Norton

    Sunday, October 14, 2012

  • Photo updates! Now I've seen the pictures, I can honestly say I don't care. If they own the roof they should be allowed to put whatever they want on it. It doesn't look that bad though, does it? Not as hideous as the blue perspex shop sign in front, at least. Good luck to them!

    Report this comment

    Caister Waster

    Monday, October 15, 2012

  • Rules on when permission required are complex and changing frequently. Even planners dont allways understand them so dont blame this guy. You cant see them when driving along Street. Only slightly walking one side and only if with head at funny angle! Photos taken from private property so irrelevant. View from 'busy' footpath from Tescos is where I suspect this all stems from. I bet the shop keepers in Stalham wish it were busy. Hardly ever see anyone on it! People obviously arent offended by them or think theyre a problem. Loads apparantly havent yet noticed them and theyve been there a year! Lets get real! and with it! We should applaud the guy for doing something for the shops, us all, and the planet.

    Report this comment

    Retals1

    Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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