Solar panels could soon be seen on the roof of Helston's historic Guildhall after a U-turn by Cornwall Council. 

Although detailed planning permission still needs to be given, the idea has been approved in principle. 

The idea was first raised in 2011 but not taken forward when the council ran into problems, as the building, which is the home of the town council and the focal point of the dances on Flora Day, is listed and in a conservation area.

However, after declaring a climate emergency in March this year, the town council decided to revisit the possibility, which has now been approved in principle. 

Members are now being asked to consider developing a detailed proposal to obtain full planning permission.

The council will need to draft a ‘green’ strategy for the building and the conservation officer has suggested that this include the installation of secondary glazing. 

In a report to councillors to be discussed this Thursday, town clerk Chris Dawson said this was something that previous conservation officers had objected to and would require separate full and listed building consent planning applications.

READ MORE: Bid to put solar panels on the roof of listed Helston Guildhall

Speaking back in December 2019, councillor Dave Potter, who is also chairman of the Helston Climate Action Group, said: “It would be good for the community, having solar panels on this building, and it’s as much as anything a statement that a public building, listed in a conservation area, can get planning permission.”

At the same meeting, Councillor Mike Thomas, who also represents Helston at Cornwall Council, said he too had raised this matter with officers at county level but been told currently the law nationally prevents it from happening.

“But this council can lobby through our MP, to ask for this to be revisited. Clearly current legislation can change,” he added.

It was agreed that town clerk Chris Dawson should write to the head of planning at Cornwall Council and also West Cornwall’s MP Derek Thomas, asking for his support in changing the law.