Roof mounted solar panels undermine important windmill setting

Siting solar panels on a building which fell within the setting of a grade II* windmill in Leicestershire would be unacceptably harmful, an inspector ruled, and dismissed the appeal.

The windmill was one of only four six-sailed windmills in the country and it sat on high ground to take advantage of prevailing winds. Its setting was of considerable visual importance allowing near and far views of the structure. The panels which had already been sited on the roof of a building which supported the appellant’s tourism businesses, introduced a distracting and incongruous feature, degrading a key view of the windmill, the inspector held. Whilst the ability of the panels to contribute to the upkeep of the windmill was relevant, no detailed figures as to the magnitude of the benefits had been supplied. Consequently, the inspector, in ruling that the panels had led to a less than substantial impact on the setting of the windmill, determined that the public benefits were insufficient to justify granting retrospective consent.

Inspector: Christopher Anstey; Written representations

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