Solar panels likely to remain on a roof of an outbuilding next to a Grade II Listed property in Stoneleigh Abbey despite concerns on the impact on the building's heritage

Planning officers had recommended that the panels be removed

Solar panels are likely to remain on the roof of an outbuilding next to a Grade II Listed property in the grounds of Stoneleigh Abbey.

Planning officers had recommended that the panels, which have already been put in place, be removed because they detracted from the character of Tantara Lodge, on Coventry Road, which marks the eastern approach to the historic grounds through the deer park.

But councillors at the delegated planning committee of Warwick District Council on Thursday (October 21) disagreed and said that any impact on the heritage of the area was outweighed by the benefit that the solar panels would bring.

Solar panels are likely to remain on the roof of an outbuilding next to a Grade II Listed property in the grounds of Stoneleigh Abbey

Development services manager Gary Fisher, who will have the final say on the decision, told the meeting: “The key consideration is very much about the balance between the protection of heritage assets and sustainability.

“This is a modern outbuilding in close proximity to a Grade II Listed building and within a Grade II registered park and garden.

"The panels are inward looking and not publicly visible but in officers’ views they are significant within that immediate curtilage of the listed building,

“If it is considered that the harm to the listed building setting and character of the registered park outweighs the public sustainability benefits then planning permission should be refused.”

Cllr Oliver Jacques (Con, Warwick All Saints and Woodloes) countered: “If listed building consent was not required for the outbuilding and it went ahead then any potential perceived harm was reduced by the awarding of that application.

"The addition of solar panels does not represent any significant further harm.”

Cllr Robert Margrave (Ind, Whitnash) said that in his opinion the benefits outweighed any harm to the heritage asset and that he could see no reason to object.

And Cllr Phil Kohler (Lib Dem, Leamington Lillington) added: “If committee decides to refuse this application I believe it would cause significant harm to our climate emergency action plan. Avoiding that harm should count as an additional public benefit in support of this application and it therefore should be approved.

“Ambition two of our climate emergency action plan aims to reduce the carbon emissions of the district as a whole by at least 55 per cent by 2030. Refusing this application could lead to other applications for solar panels not being brought forward or it could lead to press coverage about the council refusing solar panels simply because they are near a listed building.

“This application could be promoted as how a heritage asset can contribute to the decarbonisation of the district.”