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Community / Appeal against rejection of planning consent for solar panels on Papa Stour kirk

Work has been taking place on the exterior as well as the interior. Photo: Papa Stour History and Community Group

AN APPEAL has been lodged against the refusal of planning permission for solar panels on the historic Papa Stour kirk as part of its major renovation.

Planning officers previously ruled that the 12 black panels would “adversely impact the special architectural and historic interest of the building”.

The local history and community group bought the B-listed building – which is more than 200 years old – from the Church of Scotland in 2016. It is now in the process of being redeveloped.

As part of the renovation the history and community group applied for planning permission for photovoltaic panels on the south pitch of the kirk’s roof to improve energy efficiency and tackle rising costs.

Documents show that a review of the decision has now been requested, with the application potentially going in front of councillors on the SIC’s planning committee in late October.

The planning service’s decision on the application had concluded: “While there is general support for renewable technologies within heritage contexts, they should be carefully and discretely located so as not to compromise the special architectural interest of the building.

The ruling added that the “harm to the historic environment would outweigh the benefits of the proposal”.

But after the decision the Papa Stour Community and History Group had questioned why the application had been turned down given the B-listed St Andrew Episcopal Church in Fife was previously given the green light to install 22 photovoltaic panels.

Meanwhile Scottish ministers could take a view by late September on the proposed demolition of the ruined Linkshouse building in Yell.

Shetland Islands Council’s planning committee has already approved demolition of the C-listed 18th Century house, but government ministers have the final say as Historic Environment Scotland had objected.

Councillors support demolition of historic Yell building over safety risk

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Scottish ministers have to decide whether to ‘call in’ the demolition application, or give the council the green light to decide the matter itself.

Planning officers had recommended that councillors refuse the demolition request, but elected members backed the applicant.

Writing to the council’s planning service, the Scottish Government’s planning decisions division said: “The period within which the Scottish Ministers may require you to refer the application to them for decision is 28 days from the date of this letter.

“That period may be extended before it expires on 21 September 2023 if necessary to allow the Scottish Ministers to complete their consideration of the case.”

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