DCSIMG

Solar panel refusal a bitter blow for family

David and Lisbeth Stephens have been denied permission to have these solar panels on their avairy roof. Pictured is their son Nathan Stephens. Photo: 0393SB-5

David and Lisbeth Stephens have been denied permission to have these solar panels on their avairy roof. Pictured is their son Nathan Stephens. Photo: 0393SB-5

THE terminally-ill father of a Bloxholm family is worried that a decision to refuse solar panels on their home may mean they will have to move when he dies as they may not be able to afford the heating and energy costs.

David Stephens was diagnosed with colon and liver cancer at Christmas last year and he has been told the condition is terminal.

Earlier this year, he and his wife Lisbeth decided they wanted to do their bit to protect the environment and to save money on energy costs by investing in 16 solar panels.

As the family live in a Grade Two listed property, they had the panels placed on the aviaries at the back of the garden instead of the roof of the house.

However, they had not obtained planning permission and when they submitted a retrospective application to North Kesteven District Council it was refused due to the panels’ close proximity to Bloxholm Hal.

Council planners said it was ‘an unjustified and inappropriate form of development in close proximity to a grade ll listed stable block’ and ‘has a harmful impact on the setting of this listed building’.

David’s son Nathan said: “My father has spent years renovating the house so that my mother and father could have their dream home. Now that the planning has been denied, it’s threatening the chance that once my father has passed, my mother will no longer be able to live in the house.

“This is my father’s legacy and he has worked hard all his life and has tried to do his part in protecting the environment. We are asked to reduce our carbon footprint but when we do we are denied. It feels like we cannot do right for doing wrong.”

He added: “The Government is constantly pushing green energy and even St Denys’ Church in Sleaford has solar panels on its roof.

“The solar panels would have paid for our oil and central heating costs,”

An district council spokesman said: “The council is broadly supportive of the use of green energy solutions – in the right place and to an appropriate scale – and applauds Mr Stephens’ initiative in pursuing such environmental and economic benefits.

“It was felt in this case that the siting, scale, expanse and appearance of the panels represented an unjustified and inappropriate form of development in close proximity to a Grade II listed stable block.

“The applicant has a number of channels still open to them, including an appeal against the council’s decision and the opportunity to come back to negotiate a more suitable solution and make a further application at no cost.”

n What do you think? Email your views to rachel.grafton@jpress.co.uk

 

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