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Please allow the solar PV panels on the side-wall of Heron House to stay there

This petition had 723 supporters

Hounslow Council have ordered us to remove the solar PV panels on our side wall. We put them up in July 2012 after Council officials had assured us that, since they would be facing a blank Brewery warehouse wall, 100 metres from the A4 Motorway and not overlooked by any other houses (see photograph), there should be no reason for an application for retrospective planning permission to be refused.

But two weeks after they were up, the Council wrote to us to say they would refuse permission because they considered the panels to be “harmful to the character and appearance of the Old Chiswick Conservation Area”, even though they are in an industrial enclave of the Conservation Area, where heavy goods vehicles come and go to the Brewery all day. All the green growth on the walls was planted by us to improve the look of the street.

We decided to take a poll to find out how many people agreed with the Council. We knocked on doors of local residents, asked employees of Fullers Brewery and stopped passers-by in the street to ask what they thought. Most people had not even noticed the panels and the result of the poll was 166 signatures in favour of keeping them on the wall. Only 2 people agreed with the Council that the panels should be removed. 

We appealed against the refusal, citing the National Planning Policy Framework, which emphasises the importance of encouraging local generation of renewable energy. Our appeal was dismissed on the grounds that the “harm” done by the visual impact of the panels to “the quality of life of this and future generations” was so great, that it outweighed all other considerations (including presumably energy security, climate change etc).

We are now appealing once more, in the hope of persuading the Council not to enforce their decision. In case the Council does not believe the results of our poll we have offered to pay for an independent professional poll to satisfy the Council that the majority support the retention of the panels.

We believe that the right of householders to defend their own and the nation’s quality of life by generating renewable energy should be given top priority, particularly where the majority of the public is in favour, as in this case.

Our petition is therefore to ask Hounslow Council to accept the democratic decision of the majority and allow the panels to stay where they are.  

Today: James is counting on you

James Skinner needs your help with “Marilyn Smith: Please allow the solar PV panels on the side-wall of Heron House to stay there”. Join James and 722 supporters today.