A CHURCH has been granted permission to install solar panels on its roof.
St Matthew’s in Tarring Road, Worthing, will be able to put 20 plaques on the 123 year old building, which also serves as a community center and preschool.
They will provide energy for the hall and church itself, saving an estimated £50,000.
Worthing Borough Council officials had raised concerns about the impact on the surrounding conservation area and called for the plans to be rejected.
“With historical buildings, a balance must be found between generating your own energy and avoiding damage to the value of the building and its structural fabric,” they said.
The plans also met with objections from two Shakespeare Road residents, who said the panels would be an eyesore.
Church leaders said it was not possible to place the panels elsewhere because it would be less efficient and potentially require expensive scaffolding.
Paul Mason, a church official, said: “We were so disappointed and surprised to receive a rejection for ours [prior approval] Application.”
He said the church would have dropped the project if it hadn’t received approval the second time, which would have been “a great shame”.
“Worthing needs projects like this if the Council is to deliver on its promise to be net zero carbon,” he said.
Reverend Paul Taylor pointed to the Church of England’s own plan to be carbon neutral by 2030.
“Our church is unlisted and the plaques are on the rear roof,” he said.
“If even we cannot do that, how will the Church of England possibly achieve its goal?”
Rev. Taylor said that the purpose of the church is to minister to the congregation seven days a week.
“Solar panels will allow us to do this in an energy-efficient way,” he said.
“We want to take care of the planet and we want to take care of the local people.”
The committee acted against the officers’ advice and the plans were unanimously approved.
Committee chairman Jim Deen said: “Over the course of the coming year [we want] to address the obsolescence of our protected areas and the guidance within them.”
https://www.theargus.co.uk/news/20828375.st-matthews-tarring-road-worthing-get-solar-panels/?ref=rss St Matthew’s in Tarring Road, Worthing to get solar panels