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Man forced to remove £20k solar panels because it spoils his view

By Carmarthen Journal  |  Posted: January 09, 2017

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Environment campaigner Bobby Bazalgette.

Environment campaigner Bobby Bazalgette.

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A GREEN energy company director has been forced him to tear down £20,000 of solar panels from his country barn – because it was spoiling his own views.

Environment campaigner Bobby Bazalgette, aged 66, was told his eco-friendly roofing at the barn of his farmhouse home in Carmarthenshire was "detrimental" to the listed building.

Renewables chief Mr Bazalgette was devastated when he was ordered to remove the panels after losing a two-year battle with planning officials.

He was working to restore his home and barn as part of a £70,000 project to make it as low-carbon as possible – and spent a fortune putting solar panels on the roof of the barn.

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Mr Bazalgette's property from above, including the solar panels on a barn

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But after the panels had been up for two years he was told by Carmarthenshire Council planning chiefs to remove them because they were detrimental to the grade-two listed farmhouse.

Mr Bazalgette, from Brechfa, said: "I put the panels on as part of a major investment in the house to make it habitable and reduce the carbon footprint.

"I thought I would not need planning permission because the panels are not on the listed house. So I applied and it was refused."

He carried on his fight by appealing to the Planning Inspectorate but an independent inspector backed the council.

Mr Bazalgette, who runs SolarWheel Ltd, said: "I feel depressed and angry every time I look at the roof without the panels.

"My investment of almost £20,000 has been trashed.

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Environment campaigner Bobby Bazalgette in front of his tin-roof barn where the panels used to sit

"I received many hundreds of messages of support from people who know this house and none of them can understand why this has been done to us."

The electric panels made 3,300 units per year so Mr Bazalgette estimates his electricity bill will increase by about £595 a year.

The council said the panels were "detrimental to the setting of a listed building" and threatened to take him to court if he did not remove them.

The authority said it does not target owners of listed buildings but said it would investigate breaches of planning controls with prosecution a last resort.

Council's planning chief Llinos Quelch said: "The site in question was one where retrospective consent was not given for the installation of solar panels."

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