Solar Panels on roof in Conservation Area

May 20, 2021 by Nick in forum Planning Forum

#1008 Nick, 20 May 2021, 10:09

I am wanting to install in-rood solar PV panels on a pretty standard house roof, but the only useful roof aspect faces the road.

This site states: "If your property is in a Conservation Area or in a World Heritage Site, planning consent is required when panels are to be fitted on the principal or side elevation walls and they are visible form the highway."

Permitted Development Rights Pt14 A.1 (c) removes PD rights for "..installed on a wall which fronts the highway'

Both statement could be interpreted as excluding wall-mounted, as opposed to roof-mounted, installations from the PD concessions. This point seems to be a source of confusion and contention!

For instance, Medway (https://www.medway.gov.uk/info/200150/planning_guidance/1080/planning_permission_and_solar_panels) states clearly: "You will not usually need planning permission to install solar panels on the roof of a house or block of flats in a conservation area, even if the roof faces a highway. However, you'll need planning permission when installing solar panels or other equipment on a wall fronting a highway within a conservation area."

My LA seems to have the opposite interpretation - stating to the effect that 'wall includes roof' and so PD rights are not applicable. They even charged me £50 to give me that answer.
Neither will they give me any indication as to whether a planning application will simply result in a flat refusal, or if there is some reasonable chance of acceptance.

Is there any any authoritative documentation that might resolve this confusion? Who is the arbiter? Who can help?
In a world driving for 'net zero' this all seems very counter-productive!

Any concrete help/advice very much appreciated.

#1009 Nick, 20 May 2021, 10:12

sorry, typo, that should read "in-roof solar PV panels" - i.e. mounted in place of tiles in the plane of the roof - much neater.

#1010 Damian, 22 May 2021, 09:21

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2015/596/schedule/2/part/14/made
[Paragraph J.1(d)]

“Development is not permitted by Class J if in the case of a building on article 2(3) land, the solar PV equipment or solar thermal equipment would be installed on a roof slope which fronts a highway;”

#1011 Nick, 22 May 2021, 20:17

Class J does not apply to a domestic house:
"other than a dwellinghouse or a block of flats."

#1012 Damian, 23 May 2021, 11:01

Agreed, that was a mis-reference.

Schedule 2, Part 14, Paragraph A.1(c) states…

“in the case of land within a conservation area or which is a World Heritage Site, the solar PV or solar thermal equipment would be installed on a wall which fronts a highway;”

So it does not mention (as you say) a roof but only a wall. My interpretation similar to the LPA would be the wall in this respect would also include the roof that fronts a Highway.

Why don’t you submit a LDC application and wait for the formal determination, which will then provide details of how it does or does not comply with the GPDO?

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