I live in a listed home in Shropshire, can I have solar panels?


The applicant in question lives in a listed home in Much Wenlock, Shropshire. Verbally planning have advised that they wouldn’t support an application for solar PV, however the homeowner would like to proceed. Can we offer any advice to support her application?

Jackie Jones, Herefordshire Green Network:

As I understand it, they’ll need listed building consent AND planning permission. See here. It also depends on the grade of the listing I should think, and the orientation of the building/visibility from the street. Sometimes it’ll work well on an outbuilding. If they’re unsuccessful but want to do a good solar thing, there’s Big Solar Co-op: https://bigsolar.coop

Matt Williams, Severn Wye Energy Agency:

There are a number of listed buildings in the country that have had solar panels, but them being approved often depends on what roof face. Are there any less well seen roof areas available or out buildings rather than panels applied to the front of the property?Is there land available for a ground based system?

Might be easier if they just bought a part of a community solar farm: https://rippleenergy.com/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIttL50MH-_gIVVbrVCh2tCgveEAAYASAAEgKoQvD_BwE

A very last resort might be a small (less than 700watt) removable ground based plug and play system. https://www.pluginsolar.co.uk/?product_cat=ground-mount-diy-solar-kit

Looks like some parts of Shropshire have a blanket ban on solar on listed buildings until 2024. Policy 7 point iii states: Solar panels should not be used on Listed Buildings or heritage assets nor on buildings on a site designated as a Scheduled Ancient Monument. Which could read as a blanket no for listed buildings or only where listed buildings are on a site designated as a Scheduled Ancient Monument.

Lisa Whitaker, Severn Wye Energy Agency:

National Trust have done it a lot, thought I don’t know about in Shropshire. I was also going to suggest a ground mounted system as a possibility as Matt says. There are also ‘slate’ tile solar panels that might be more agreeable to the Conservation Officers. Eg https://www.gb-sol.co.uk/products/pvslates/default.htm?gad=1&gclid=Cj0KCQjwmZejBhC_ARIsAGhCqnes-A1KV27p6GcEaZ3GuHUbzQYFa1BkXG3cMzMnvI7BA2YF1BGbRt4aAh3YEALw_wcB

Although maybe not, as ‘reversibility’ might be lessened with the tiles.

There is a useful guide (among others) from Historic England: https://historicengland.org.uk/images-books/publications/eehb-solar-electric/heag173-eehb-solar-electric-photovoltaics/ although it doesn’t really tell you how to get consent.

As Historic England (https://historicengland.org.uk) will be consulted for LBC, it might be worth the client contacting them directly to discuss/ get advice.

Gordon Coppock, Herefordshire Green Network:

PV panels on an oak car port or in the rear garden on a wooden gazebo type structure have been used in some listed or conservation areas in the past.

FRH applicant and planner (Brecon Beacons):

As a planner, my advice would be for people to get a good agent. Panels have improved so much in terms of appearance in recent years. We think our panels installed last year blend in well on a 19th century cottage but panels elsewhere in the street from ten years ago look pretty terrible. It’s not easy but a good agent should be able to demonstrate this trend and the LPA could approve an exact specification of (modern) panels just like they do with types of brick. An experienced agent would also know of examples where an authority HAD approved panels on a listed building to demonstrate a precedent.

Gareth Williams, Caplor Energy (solar installers):

At Caplor (https://caplor.co.uk) we quite routinely put solar on listed building and in conservation zones. Generally, design important and positioning – sometimes a ground mount strategically placed. We can try to assist with applications but are very busy with installs at present so there is some time lag.