PLANS to install more than 20 solar panels on a grade-II listed church in a bid to reduce heating costs and be more environmentally friendly have been rejected.

The Lake District National Park Authority has turned down a planning application to install 28 solar panels on St Anne’s Church in Ings due to concerns over its impact on the heritage of the site.

A report prepared by planning officers states: “Taking account of the important public views of the application, building together with the consistency in the palette of local materials, the removal or obscuration of the majority of the existing weathered local slate and its replacement with solar panels would represent a visual intrusion, disruption and contrast in the consistency of materials in the immediate area.

“The changes would adversely impact on the character of the building and surrounding area and would fail to reinforce local character and distinctiveness.”

In planning documents, the church state they considered the installation of solar panels due to the increased usage of the church and the increasing cost of energy. The church adds the installation of the solar panels would make the energy demands of the building 86 per cent carbon zero.

A heritage statement submitted by the applicant admitted the proposals would have some impact on the view of the church from the south but added the plans would help the building meet the Church of England’s net zero targets and positively impact the financial security of the church.

However a report from planning officers state the public benefits are not sufficient to outweigh the harm and impact identified.