Horncastle’s mayor has backed a neighbour whose objection has left plans for the town’s first eco home hanging in the balance.
The McGarry family have already built their state-of-the-art house off Bargate Lane.
However, they could be forced to rip down solar panels which are key to the entire project.
Husband and wife Paul and Nerys McGarry are adamant they received full planning permission from East Lindsey District Council after submitting comprehensive drawings for their new home with the solar panels clearly indicated.
They built their four-bedroom detached property - valued at more than £240,000 - and erected the panels only to be told by ELDC that they (the panels) needed specific planning permission.
The McGarrys duly submitted an application that was backed by the Town Council and Horncastle’s History and Civic Society.
But ELDC’s planners rejected the plan, backing a neighbour who had objected.
Planners said they would normally look to support environmental projects but ruled the panels would have a ‘significant adverse impact’ on the neighbour.
The McGarrys hit out at the decision - saying they were ‘gobsmacked’ - and have already launched an appeal.
Now, town mayor Councillor Angela Birchall has described the panels as “an eyesore” after visiting the site.
Speaking at a meeting of the Town Council’s planning committee, Coun Birchall said she had been invited to inspect the panels by a relative of the owner of the neighbouring property.
Coun Birchall said: “Having seen the panels, I can understand why the lady did object - and why she is so concerned.
“They (the panels ) are intrusive. They are an eyesore.”
Coun Birchall went on to say a dividing wall between the eco house and the neighbour’s property was originally three feet high but the panels had effectively increased the height to over six feet.
She said the McGarrys had erected ‘camouflage netting’, apparently in an attempt to screen the panels.
Planning committee chairman Coun Brian Burbidge said what happened next in the planning process was out of the Town Council’s hands.
He explained the council was not in a position to make any official comment - until they were invited to submit any views as part of the appeal process.
Mr and Mrs McGarry are unrepentant. They deny the panels are intrusive and have submitted an appeal to the Secretary of Sate.
It is understood it could take several months for a final decision.