Kensington & Chelsea becomes first borough to relax solar panels rules for historic homes

It brings listed homes in line with regular domestic homes, where planning permission is not required. According to Ben Ridley, an architect at Architecture for London, listing building consent is a major obstacle to historic home renovations. Ridley recently obtained permission to renovate a Grade-II listed home in Chelsea’s Royal Hospital conservation zone. Ridley praised Kensington & Chelsea for their policy and said that it was helpful to have clarity on the issue. “We try to reduce energy demand when we renovate a building, but gaining listed buiidng permission has always been an issue. There are often concerns about how the solar equipment will look from a road or whether it will cause damage to the roof tiles or fabric. Non-residential listed buildings owners will still need to submit a planning request for listed building consent. It has already installed the technology at the Dalgarno Community Centre, North Kensington. “We are putting a solar array onto the roof worth GBP50,000, and we have funding for an energy audit of the building,” says Dave Fuller, programme manager. He also claims that the project could help save thousands on heating bills. Fuller stated that Kensington & Chelsea council was supportive, but that advice varied across authorities and more national guidance was needed to adapt historic buildings. Historic Houses, which represents owners and managers of historic homes and gardens throughout the UK, has also welcomed the new planning order. Director general Ben Cowell stated that many listed properties consume a lot of energy and that owners are always looking for ways to make their homes more efficient to save money, as well as to help achieve net zero goals and environmental sustainability. “READ MORE”Revealed: London’s worst boroughs for energy efficiency, as bills soarOfgem Price Cap: How can you save money on your energy bills?Escape from London: High running costs force families to sell stately homes in Wales or ScotlandJohnny Thalassites is Kensington & Chelsea’s lead member responsible for planning, place, and environment. He said that while it was important to protect the borough’s beautiful buildings, solar panels can be easily installed without being visible from the street. He said, “We must be innovative to address the climate emergency. I’m proud that we are the first council to create a planning order to make sun power an affordable option for more people. “Removing obstacles to green energy is crucial because 80 percent of the borough’s carbon emission comes from buildings. We will need more homes and businesses that run on renewable energy to offset the 4,000 listed buildings in Kensington & Chelsea if we want to become carbon neutral by 2040.