Lewes District Council

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Planning
Lewes District Council
Southover House
Southover Road
Lewes
East Sussex
BN7 1AB

Tel: 01273 484420
planning@lewes.gov.uk
Fax: 01273 484452

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Solar Panels

solar panelsFind out if you need planning permission for solar panels within the Lewes District

Government guidance within the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) (paragraph 95) states that 'local planning authorities should actively support energy efficiency improvements to existing buildings' and that (paragraph 98) 'local planning authorities should not require applicants for energy development to demonstrate the overall need for renewable or low carbon energy and also recognise that even small-scale projects provide a valuable contribution to cutting greenhouse gas emissions'.

Domestic Development

Recent changes to legislation have increased ‘permitted development rights’ for solar technology, to include flats and maisonettes, as well as houses.

The following criteria apply to the installation of solar panels to a house, maisonette or flat or on a building within its curtilage:

  1. The panels must not exceed the highest part of the roof on which they are installed.
  2. The panels must not protrude more than 200 mm beyond the plane of the wall on which they are installed.
  3. If the property is within a Conservation Area the panels must not be installed on a wall that fronts a highway.
  4. If your property is a listed building, you will need to apply for Listed Building Consent.

Please note that any panels installed on a flat roof will automatically require planning permission unless they protrude less than 200mm in height above the flat roof on which they are installed.

The following criteria apply to the installation of a stand alone solar system within the curtilage of a house, maisonette or flat:

  1. No more than one stand alone solar system is permitted.
  2. The stand alone system must not exceed 4 metres in height.
  3. If the property is within a Conservation Area the stand alone system would be nearer to a highway than any part of the house, maisonette or flat.
  4. The stand alone system must not be installed within 5 metres of any boundary of the dwelling.
  5. If your property is a listed building, you will need to apply for Listed Building Consent.
  6. The surface area of the panels forming the stand alone system must not exceed 9 square metres in total or 3 metres in any one dimension.

A standard planning application for solar panels takes up to 8 weeks to determine and is subject to the usual consultation requirements. 

Article 4 Direction

Article 4 Directions, such as those covering Lewes and Ditchling offer additional protection for the Conservation Area and remove the normal ‘permitted development rights’ as outlined above.  Therefore domestic properties in these areas, require planning permission in the following circumstances:

Where any solar equipment installed on a wall or roof slope of a house, flat or maisonette, or a building within its curtilage, fronts on to a public highway, watercourse or open space.  (Highway includes all roads, footpaths, bridleways and byways over which the public have a right of way.)

Non-domestic development

Permitted development rights have also been granted for the installation of non-domestic solar panels.

The following criteria apply to a building other than a dwelling house, maisonette or flat such as, commercial, industrial, agricultural or other business premises: 

  1. The panels must not protrude more than 200 mm beyond the plane of the pitched roof or wall on which they are installed.
  2. Where panels are installed on a flat roof they must be no higher than 1m above the highest part of the roof (excluding chimneys).
  3. The panels must not be installed within 1m of any external roof edge.
  4. The panels must not be installed within 1m of a wall or roof junction of that building.
  5. If the property is within a Conservation Area the panels must not be installed on a wall or roof-slope that fronts a highway.
  6. Planning permission is required if the property is a Listed Building or Scheduled Monument.

The following criteria apply to the installation of a stand alone solar system within the curtilage of a non-domestic building:

  1. No more than one stand alone solar system is permitted.
  2. The stand alone system must not exceed 4 metres in height.
  3. If the property is within a Conservation Area the stand alone system must not be positioned closer to any highway than the closest part of the building.
  4. The stand alone system must not be installed within 5 metres of any boundary.
  5. Planning permission is required if the property is a Listed Building or Scheduled Monument.
  6. The surface area of the panels forming the stand alone system must not exceed 9 square metres in any dimension.

A standard planning application for solar panels takes up to 8 weeks to determine and a major planning application takes up to 13 weeks.  Both are subject to the usual consultation requirements. 

Withdrawn Permitted Development Rights

Further restrictions may be imposed by way of a restrictive condition attached to the grant of planning permission, that removes permitted development rights.  These restrictions are often imposed when it is considered that any further development of the site using permitted development would be detrimental to the area.

Restrictive Conditions are specific to a property or development and can vary in wording and the development restricted.

If you own your property, restrictive conditions such as these should have been notified to you by your legal advisor when purchasing the property.  If you are unsure whether such a condition affects your property, you should check with us before carrying out any development.

Information required when submitting your application

In addition to the standard requirements for submitting a valid application you need to ensure that you also send:

Submitting an application

For applications relating to the installation of solar panels at a house, you will need to submit the Householder planning application form.

For applications relating to the installation of solar panels at a flat, maisonette or non-domestic premises you will need to submit the Full Planning application form.

For any building that is listed you will need to submit the Listed Building application form.

Documents

Statutory Instrument 2011 No. 2056
PDF Installation of Domestic Microgeneration Equipment (0.07mb)