Ceredigion Council’s attempt to go green breaks its own planning guidelines

CEREDIGION council may have to seek retrospective permission following the installation, by contractors, of more than 200 solar panels to its offices in Aberaeron in April.

The building in question is where the council makes decisions on planning applications. ceredigion council logo

The council admitted that the solar panels, which produce 49.5 kW, at its Penmorfa office do not conform to their “permitted development” guidelines, and have instead blamed the contractors who installed them. It cost around £62,000 to design and install the panels, which don’t meet the guidelines by being 1m away from the roof’s edge and, as a result, require planning consent.

The local authority said it had recently invited tenders to provide optimum solar photovoltaic alternatives at both its Penmorfa and Minaeron buildings in Aberaeron, in order to maximise energy generation and carbon reduction at all its buildings.

The council said that meetings had been held with the unnamed contractors prior to the installation, and that the general location of the panels was agreed. They insist that the contractors made the error and will be paying to correct what it calls an “oversight”.

A spokesman for Ceredigion county council said the successful contractors were informed prior to the installation that it would need to conform to the permitted development requirements.

The spokesman went on to say:

“Clearly, the system installed at Penmorfa does not conform with the permitted rights and when this oversight became visible the contractor was immediately informed of this. “The contractor is now currently considering how to rectify the situation at their own cost. “The contractor failed to check planning requirements prior to installation, even though they were clearly set out in the tender documents. “The solar panels will now need to be re-installed within parameters that meet permitted development or the installation as it will require a retrospective planning permission. “Either option will be entirely at the contractor’s expense.”