3rd October 2018

The sun will be shining on St Margaret’s Hall

At last night’s Full Council meeting, a unanimous vote granted approval for a scheme to install solar panels on the south facing roof of St Margaret’s Hall. The idea was broached initially in May 2018 by the Environment & Planning Committee, chaired by the Mayor, Cllr Alex Kay.

“We have had very strong and positive support from the public, including representatives of both Bradford on Avon Preservation Trust and Climate Friendly BOA – it was encouraging and heart-warming to receive such support which has spurred us on to get this through in time to take advantage of the current tariff scheme.”

Photo Lydia Booth Photography

Alex, a keen environmentalist herself, continued….

“After a lot of hard work; screening the tenders, selecting a provider and agreeing a scheme, presentations and discussion of various stages at six further meetings over the 5 months, I am delighted to get the go ahead on this project.

By spring next year, we are likely to be beginning to save money and more importantly reducing our carbon foot-print with a massive 10.5 metric tonnes estimated COsaving per year! Thank you to all those who have contributed to this excellent outcome!”

Jonathan Maguire, Renewable Energy Consultant at the Council’s selected provider Solarsense, gave a presentation to the well attended meeting and also gave reassurance that the panels used would be the more subtle black panels and edging in order to preserve the aesthetic of the roof in question. More information about Solarsense can be found on their website HERE

Rosie Macgregor of the BOA Preservation Trust, spoke at the start of the meeting in support of the scheme:

“We are supportive of the proposal because we have now reached a critical point beyond which the continued use of fossil fuels and carbon emissions will have an irreversible impact on global warming and climate change beyond which we face extinction of life on earth. Even setting aside the harm to the environment of CO2 emissions such proposals make long term economic sense!

Historic England encourages owners of buildings in conservation areas to consider ethical and economic reasons to generate their own energy from sun, wind, water and underground heat – in other words micro-generation from renewable sources.

It is possible on a domestic dwelling to generate up to 40% of the average household’s electricity needs from panels can be mounted on roofs. Imagine how much energy that would generate on a roof the size of St Margaret’s Hall.”

The project which will cost close £30k is estimated to pay for itself within 7 years, eventually enabling funds to be generated and put back into the public purse. However, Councillors and members of the audience alike stated that regardless of the cost, the benefit to future generations was invaluable.

The final hurdle to jump will be gaining planning permission from Wiltshire Council, though Councillors are confident that the scheme will be acceptable having consulted with planning officers and followed guidelines on aesthetics as set out by CPRE (Campaign to Protect Rural England).

Town Council officers will then see through the implementation of the scheme, with a view to panels being installed in January 2019.

Above: Visualisation of St Margaret’s Hall with solar panels installed