Councillors told it is a ‘changing world’ as solar panels are approved

Monday April 17th 2023


The house in St Mary’s Court, at the entrance of Dalkeith Country Park.

Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Marie Sharp

Councillors have overturned a decision to refuse permission for solar panels on the roof of a house next to an historic church after being told it is a “changing world”

The owner of the house, next to Dalkeith Country Park and St Mary’s Church, had argued that the three panels on his roof would not distract passers by whose attention was already captured by a ‘neon pink’ park advertising board and church signs next to his home.

However planning officers refused permission for the panels, leading to an appeal to Midlothian Council’s Local Review Body.

And the review body today upheld the appeal as its chair Councillor Russell Imrie told members “it is a changing world”.

Councillor Imrie said every planning application had to be considered on its own merit.

The review body was told applicant Paul Shipp was refused permission to put solar panels on the roof of his home at St Mary’s Court, in the town, after planners said they would be visible from the road and detrimental to the surrounding conservation area.

But in his appeal Mr Shipp argued that there are more distractions outside his home that would draw attention.

In his statement of appeal, he said: “Although the dwelling is situated in a conservation area and the solar panels are proposed to be fitted to a roof that faces a road, the first line of sight on the approach from this road to Dalkeith Country Park is the large (and often neon pink) advertising sign for the park alongside the bright blue signs for St Mary’s Church attached to the listed wall surrounding our house.”

At the review body Councillor Peter Smaill told officers that he could see no reason to refuse the panels given they had already allowed the house itself to be built with skylights already on the roof.

He said: “Normally in a conservation area close to the church I would agree with the officers decision but the fact is the council has already given permission for a modernish house with skylight windows.”

And fellow councillor Colin Cassidy added: “I cant see a problem with the panels, I do not think it is going to affect the aesthetics of the site or that corner.”

The review body unanimously agreed to uphold the appeal and allow the panels.

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