District Council’s KO to family’s eco dream

The McGarry family at their home.
The McGarry family at their home.

A family’s dream of living in Horncastle’s first-ever fully eco home have been thrown into disarray after planners rejected proposals for solar panels.

Paul and Nerys McGarry have already moved into their state-of-the-art home off 
Boston Road.

However, a key to the entire project are solar panels to provide year-round 
power - including heating.

The couple thought they had received the go-ahead for the panels as part of initial planning permission from East Lindsey District Council.

However, they were told they would have to submit a separate application - even though the panels were clearly shown in the original plans.

There was an objection from a neighbour but Mr and Mrs McGarry’s hopes 
soared when their revised application was backed by Horncastle Town Council.

Now, though, ELDC has delivered a hammer blow, ruling in favour of the neighbour, saying the panels would have a ‘significant adverse impact’ on their living conditions.

That decision has brought a stinging response from Mr and Mrs McGarry who say they will appeal.

They also stress that the council’s claims in the refusal notice that had worked with the couple in ‘a proactive manner’ are blatantly untrue.

Mr and Mrs McGarry said that following the objection from the neighbour, they offered to discuss various options with the relevant planning officer from ELDC to lessen the impact of 
the panels.

But they say the officer did not even acknowledge their offer and instead ‘simply proceeded to a refusal.’

Mrs McGarry said: “Naturally, we are astonished and disappointed by the Local Authority’s decision, particularly as the government is encouraging small-scale 
renewable projects to meet its 2020 target, but we have faith that the planning inspectorate will view the matter 
differently at appeal.

“What is more frustrating is that the planning officer claims to have worked with us to reach a solution and this is simply not the case.

“We firmly believe there are measures we can take to disguise the rear view of the panels for the benefit of our neighbour and, actually, will be doing this shortly regardless, because the appeal process takes many months and we want to improve things for the neighbour now.

“It is important to us to keep generating our own electricity because we care deeply about the environment but we also care about our neighbours.”

The Council’s Planning Team Leader, Chris Panton, said: “We are generally supportive of solar panels and other eco-friendly features 
on residential properties.

“However, in this particular case, the council was unable to support the application because of the significant adverse impact the panels have on the living conditions of occupiers of the neighbouring property.”