AN APPLICATION for solar panels on a listed property in West Allington, Bridport has been refused – despite a claim they would hardly be seen from the road.

Dorset councillors said the two panels, measuring just 5 square metres, on the roof of one of a group of four grade two detached villas dating back to 1836, would be ‘detrimental’ to the property and its neighbours.

Two previous planning applications for solar panels, in 2008 and 2011, both failed as did a planning appeal which upheld the previous council refusals.

On each occasion it was ruled that the panels would be out of place within the Conservation Area.

The appeal inspector had suggested that other, less prominent, roof areas or sites elsewhere on the plot, or even different technologies might be considered instead of having the panels on the main south-facing roof.

Bridport Town Council had strongly supported the application for the panels with planning agent, Simon Ludgate, appearing before the Dorset Council’s area planning committee to argue for them to be allowed.

He said the request effectively boiled down to a contest between the principles of climate and planning policies and claimed that attitudes to solar panels were changing with more people supporting their use, even on listed building where, as in the current case, they would not be prominent because of the shallow pitch of the roof.

Portland councillor Paul Kimber told the meeting that, with a climate emergency declared, the panels were just the sort of thing he would expect to be proposed and, he argued, could not be considered permanent a permanent fixture.

But other councillors accepted the proposal of planning officers who had recommended refusal because of the effect on the appearance of the listed buildings within the conservation area.

One of the officers said there had been no discussion with the applicants about the possibility of using other roof areas, or other technologies, as suggested by the appeal inspector.