Harrogate Borough Council is looking into placing controls on properties fronting The Stray in Harrogate in relation to the installation of solar panels (both photovoltaic and solar thermal).
In the majority of cases planning permission is not required for solar panels, as long as they are within a given size.
The new measures are being proposed to protect the conservation area of the Stray and would apply tighter controls on 962 residential addresses.
A report is due to presented to the Cabinet for Planning, Transport and Economic Development Meeting on the 27 June 2012.
Quoting from the report:
These changes have the potential to have a substantial visual impact on historic urban areas such as the Harrogate Stray.
As it stands, any individual could install solar panels on their property so long as it is in residential use.
Given that the Stray is set within a conservation area, buildings with mixed or commercial uses would still be required to apply for planning permission. Listed Building Consent would be required to install solar panels to listed buildings.
Currently, there are no other solar panel installations fronting the Stray and recent changes in government subsidy have slowed the number of new installations going forward.
However, given the current permitted development rights and falling cost of the manufacture of solar panels, there is a potential for a serious erosion of the overall character of Harrogate Stray without a policy tool in place to mitigate this risk.
A decision is likely to be made following the cabinet meeting.