Epsom Residents Battle Council Over Solar Panels

Mirroring Jack taking on the giant in the British fairytale, Jack the Giant Killer, residents in Epsom are set to do battle with their local council – over solar panels.

A row between two households and Epsom Council has flared up, following the installation of solar panels which the council claims damages the “character and visual quality” of the local area.

After installing £8,000 worth of solar PV panels onto his rooftop last October, Andrew Minhinnick was shocked to receive an enforcement order from Epsom and Ewell Council to remove them. Despite following council guidelines prior to the installation, the council is trying to force Mr Minhinnick to remove them, however the forty-five year old local resident is refusing to take the panels down and is appealing the decision.

"What planning seems to be saying is that they don't want any solar panels on the front of houses in the Epsom borough,” said Mr Minhinnick.

"People are spending thousands of pounds on doing this and they are going to put them through financial hardship for something that is purely opinion based,” he added.

It’s a similar story, for John Sandison, of 1st Solar PV Ltd. Having installed 16 solar panels at his home in East Ewell at a cost of £14,000, Mr Sandison has been asked to remove some of the panels.

Said Mr Sandison: "Councillors should get their act together and say unless it is blatantly ridiculous we should allow it as permitted development. They are being massively overcautious."

According to a spokesperson for Epsom and Ewell Council, the installation of the solar panels at both properties “goes against the interests of preserving the character and visual quality of the borough” but “an agreeable solution will be sought where possible."

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