Published on 5th September 2014

close-up of a number of solar panels, blue with reflected sky

A couple from Cheltenham have been found guilty of failing to comply with a Listed Building Enforcement Notice which required them to remove unauthorised solar panels from their listed barn.

Peter Ball, estate agent, and his wife Linda Ball of Ham Court, Ham Road, in Charlton Kings pleaded guilty and were each fined £2,000. They were also both ordered to pay £100 costs and victim surcharges of £100, making a total fine of £4,400.

The solar panels were installed on the barn by the Balls without listed building consent. A Listed Building Enforcement Notice was served and duly appealed by the Balls.

James Ellis, the Secretary of State's appointed inspector, dismissed their appeal and upheld the requirements of the notice requiring the panels to be removed. The panels were not removed in the required timeframe meaning that the Balls failed to comply with the requirements of the notice which is an offence.

The court announced that a discounted fine would be given for the early guilty plea but that the matter was regarded as serious as the Balls are estate agents and should have been more knowledgeable about the rules and regulations on planning.

The solar panels have now been removed.

Martin Levick, senior planning enforcement officer, says: “We are pleased with the outcome of this case and that the Balls pleaded guilty at court. Making unauthorised changes to a listed building and then not complying with an enforcement notice is a criminal offence and shows a disregard for the heritage of the property.”

Cllr Andrew McKinlay, cabinet member for development and safety, says: “I hope that this case serves to highlight to others that there are formal procedures to follow when making changes to listed buildings. We work hard to make sure that our listed buildings are properly protected and will continue to use our powers to do so.”

Contact: Laura Carter, communications officer, telephone 01242 264154, email [email protected]