Rejection of green home plan in Withdean prompts furious outburst

Posted On 04 Nov 2010 at 12:00 pm

An applicant was asked to leave a council planning meeting yesterday after a furious outburst.

Steve McLean, of Hazeldene Meads, Brighton, had already left the meeting at Hove Town Hall by the time security staff arrived.

He spoke out after Brighton and Hove City Council planning committee rejected his request to fit seven solar panels and two dormer windows at his Withdean home.

The application can be found on page 45 the plans list.

Mr McLean had interrupted councillors during the meeting, trying to answer questions from councillors which the council’s advisers did not appear able to answer themselves.

And when his planning application was turned down by six votes to five he said: “So you can’t build a zero carbon house in Brighton!

“You’re forcing me to live a damaging lifestyle.

“We’ve been trying for five years to get this off the ground.

“Why is the planning system working against sustainability?”

Less than two months ago Mr McLean lost his appeal against the committee’s refusal to approve plans for a slightly bigger set of changes to his home.

He modified the plans and officers recommended that he be given conditional approval to his more modest scheme.

The three Green and two Labour members of the committee voted in favour of Mr McLean’s plans.

But the chairman of the planning committee, Councillor Lynda Hyde, voted with five fellow Conservatives to reject the application.

They said that the size and location of the dormers would be alien and incongruous with the surrounding street scene.

And the solar panels would be cluttered.

It wasn’t difficult to notice that Mr McLean was upset by the decision. He may well appeal but – as security staff were summoned – he didn’t hang around long enough to say.

  1. Valerie Paynter, saveHOVE Reply

    I too attended and witnessed this incident. Regrettably the 7 solar panels proposed were so huge they would stick up above the ridge of the bungalow’s pitched roof at the back, whilst the proposed 2 dormer windows were pretty seriously outsize and would have created a precedent in that area of just bungalows.

    The applicant did not speak to the application and no councillor asked if the panels could be smaller so as not to jut into the sky above the edge of the roof.

    I did hear too from councillors that the applicant had bombarded them with aggressive emails ahead of the meeting. It is too bad. And the council needs to produce a planning policy document on solar panel use to assist applicants and prevent ugly rages like this.

  2. Angrie Commenteur Reply

    This is absolutely despicable, how can those people on the planning committee look at themselves in the mirror. Here we have someone who wants to spend the money he has earned on improving not only his energy bill but the lives of many future generations to come.

    I don’t see how this application could have possibly been rejected. ‘alien and incongruous with the surrounding street scene’ ‘the solar panels would be cluttered’????? I have heard better excuses from Primary School children; this is wrong and just shows how at times our fantastic, vibrant and progressive city can be hold back by a few stuck-up archaic dinosaurs more in favour of pointless aesthetics than the future of our planet.

    I don’t know if you have seen Hazeldean Meads, but every house there is unique and I don’t see how changing one will make any difference at all. There are people out there who have to put up with living in tiny tower block flats overlooking the wonderful view of another tower block and these people are complaining about solar panels?

    This is a disgrace

  3. Captain Robert Dwight Reply

    I think that the council is entirely justified in it’s decision. The applicant has clearly not grasped that aesthetics in the area in which the applicant resides, Hazeldean Meads, is an area famed internationally for it’s unique architectural diversity, beauty and integrity. These considerations are far more important than any attempts householders might make in reducing their carbon emissions. It would be like building a huge concrete harbour on an area of stunningly beautiful coastline or entertainment centre that looks like a commercial warehouse on the seafront between classic Georgian terraces. This would never happen in Brighton.

    And isn’t it good to see that elected representatives on Brighton council are doing such a good job of tapping into local feeling regarding matters like global warming. There is clearly little or no support locally for anything that would help reduce CO2 emissions. I hear that that very same council is planning to offer subsidies for homes that wish to convert to coal.

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