Epsom resident Andrew Minhinnick has lost the battle with his local council, and has been ordered to remove his £8,000 worth of solar panels. According to Your Local Guardian, after deeming the technology “visually intrusive” Epsom and Ewell Borough Council issued an enforcement order to take the panels down. Minhinnick says he will not be moved.

Homeowners do not need planning permission to install solar panels, but they must be fitted to “minimise visual impact and impact to the amenity of the area.” Maintaining that the solar panels were installed within council guidelines Minhinnick appealed the decision last month.

Unfortunately, this appeal was swiftly rejected.

Minhinnick has now been given just 10 weeks to remove the solar panels, but says he will not back down and is prepared to take his appeal further.

“Their attitude is 'if it doesn’t look pretty then sod the environment'. I’m not taking them down and I’m going to take this further because I think it is complete nonsense and we are talking to solicitors now,” he explained.

“They should be planning to use solar panels themselves, not worrying about residents and nuances of guidelines.”

A spokesperson for Epsom and Ewell Borough Council said, “Mr Minhinnick’s appeal was refused because he did not demonstrate that the panels were 'permitted development'.

“The inspector was not persuaded that the solar panels had been sited, as far as is practicable, to minimise the effects on the external appearance of the building and the amenity of the area which is a precondition of 'permitted development'.”

Planning committee member, Councillor Michael Arthur, added: “The majority of installations are either supported or require no permission. It is only a minority of instances where inappropriate works are carried out and these relate to prominent and extensive road-facing solar thermal or photovoltaic cells or installations in sensitive locations within Conservation Areas.

“Epsom and Ewell Borough Council offers advice to householders about what is appropriate, but there has recently been a limited number of instances where inappropriately large and prominent installations have resulted in action being taken by the council to have them reduced or removed.

“In order to avoid the need for this type of action in the future and to ensure that the public have the best advice available to them on this subject, the council will publish specific guidance on the issue.

“It is anticipated that this will be in mid-October.”