Solar panels WILL be installed on iconic King’s College Chapel roof as residents blast college for ‘capitulating to so-called eco-warriors’
An iconic chapel roof is set to be covered in solar panels after a Cambridge college ‘capitulated to eco-warriors’.
Solar panels will be installed on the roof of the striking King’s College Chapel in Cambridge after city councillors approved a controversial planning application on Tuesday.
Organisations including Historic England and the Society or the Protection of Ancient Buildings were opposed to the plan, while guidance from officers said it should be refused.
Residents were also less than impressed by the plans and said the college had bowed down to climate protesters.
But plans were passed unanimously on Tuesday after councillors claimed it would ‘send a message’ to world leaders and inspire them to support renewable energy installations to combat climate change, the ‘greatest emergency we face’.
One of Britain’s most famous buildings, work started on King’s College Chapel in the late fifteenth century
A total of 492 solar panels are to be installed on the late Gothic Grade 1-listed building’s 300ft-long lead roof and will produce enough electricity to run the chapel
The college has seen a number of climate demonstrations in recent years, including activists stripping naked to protest investment in fossil fuels
A total of 492 solar panels are to be installed on the late Gothic Grade 1-listed building’s 300ft-long lead roof.
The panels will produce up to 105,000 kWh of energy a year – providing all of the electricity used by the chapel, with any surplus being sold to the National Grid.
Residents mocked the decision as ‘virtue signalling’ – and pointed out it came after Extinction Rebellion protesters caused chaos by blocking city roads and stripping naked at King’s College to shame the university over the ‘£400 million it has invested in the fossil fuel industry’.
One said: ‘They’ve basically capitulated to so-called eco-warriors by giving the nod to vandalise our most famous building.’
Another said previously: ‘You wouldn’t put them on the Taj Mahal or the Pantheon.’
Michael Proctor, provost of King’s College, told the meeting of Cambridge City Council’s planning committee: ‘In the context of the climate emergency, these measures are not merely beneficial but essential.’
A solar panel array on the Guildhall roof, with the King’s College Chapel in the background. Panels will also be installed on the college chapel roof
A bird’s eye view of the array of solar panels on the roof of the South Aisle of Great St Mary’s Church in central Cambridge
Plans show the planned construction and scaffolding. Residents said the college had ‘capitulated to so-called eco-warriors’
Extensive repair work will also be carried out the chapel’s roof. The building is one of the most recognisable in Cambridge
Historic England had opposed the panels, warning they would be ‘startling and discordant’ on the city’s ‘finest building’
Cllr Simon Smith, one of seven members who approved the application, said: ‘Climate change is resulting in catastrophic and irreversible changes to the Earth.
‘We must not be distracted in our mission by considering unsubstantial harm to the appearance of this roof.’
The planning officer’s report warned the proposal would ‘create a radically different character and appearance than the traditional lead roof’.
It added: ‘It would visually detract from the architectural character of the roof and skyline and be discordant with the architectural composition of this exceptional and historically iconic building.’
Historic England had opposed the panels, warning they would be ‘startling and discordant’ on the city’s ‘finest building’.
The application was passed with the proviso that a glint and glare assessment would be undertaken at the request of Cambridge City Airport.
The airport was also opposed to the panels on the grounds that they could affect operations.