Let the right one in

On the Green Ladywell blog, Cllr Sue Luxton has revealed the Green Party's candidate to replace departing Cllr Mike Keogh in the Council elections next May. We don't know Cllr Keogh, but here's what Sue says about his successor:

I'm delighted to introduce Charlotte Dingle as our third candidate for Ladywell. Charlotte lives in the ward and has been an active local Green Party member for some time. In her day job she is the editor of a magazine for lesbian and bisexual women and her hobbies include morris dancing, drawing and playing the guitar. She also has a keen interest in animal rights. If elected, I suspect she may well be Lewisham's first vegan, morris-dancing, goth councillor!

Elsewhere on the blog, Sue is currently conducting a poll about whether solar panels should be permitted on the roofs of Lewisham's conservation areas (correct answer: yes). So please head over there to vote - you have another 5 days from today.

39 comments:

Anonymous said...

The thread title is a work of genious.

Lets hope council meetings happen after dusk or she'll miss the important debates.

Anonymous said...

...genious? you know what I mean....

Anonymous said...

Wow, what a stereotype-embracer.

Tamsin said...

Solar panels - correct answer "no!" unless they cannot be seen from the street.

Tamsin said...

And having just gone over there to vote that is an option. Good on you Sue for devising the poll so intelligently as to allow this compromise - which has to be the best way...

Pete said...

I think I met Charlotte at the Brockley Central drinks held in the Ladywell Tavern.

Good luck to her.

Brockley Nick said...

@Tamsin - I can't see why solar panels are aesthetically offensive. They look quite similar to tiles and they hug the line of the roof.

Full disclosure - my client, Mitsubishi Electric makes solar panels (and hold the world record for most efficient solar cells, since you asked ;) )

Sue said...

Sorry, I'm guilty of heinous stero-typing and pigeon-holing, and have duly removed the word 'goth' from my post now. . .

Sue said...

BTW, we also selected our Crofton Park and Telegraph Hill candidates last night, but I'll leave them to announce themselves in due course. We're selecting the Brockley candidates and mayoral candidate next month, due to the clash with the Brockley ward assembly last night, but all 3 sitting councillors are hoping to stand again.

Brockley Nick said...

Well Let the right one in is a great film that I had been discussing with some BC regulars recently and I had been planning to use the title in some context at some point. When you described Charlotte as a goth, the opportunity to link it to a gothic romance was irresistable.

Still, Eli's story in the film really begins with the departure of an older man (cllr Mike in this case) so it still works, goth reference or not :)

Anonymous said...

Also correct answer 'No'.

Broc Soc have worked hard for years to protect the conservation area - and part of that is to make sure solar panels go via planning, and that the front roofslopes are kept free, and 'conserved' as they would be when they were built. Why bother to stipulate on tiles and the rest if we are to allow panels to be put up? Panels on the back roofslopes, yes - but we don't have to compromise on heritage on this one. The two things should not be mutually exclusive.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad Sue has mentioned that the results of this poll will be skewed by the fact that her blog will attract like-minded readers.

The only answer to this one would be to take a poll of those who live in the conservation area - afterall they live there and do not have to have a change prescribed to them. I also think this flies in the face of the English heritage report that was mentioned on this blog earlier in the year - which said the conservation areas need more protection not less.

Can't see what is wrong with putting them on back roof slopes. If your slope does not get sun - so be it - there are plenty of other ways to do your bit for the environment - insulation, hybrid cars etc etc.

Tamsin said...

@Nick. If you allow Solar Panels you are a short step away from allowing Velux windows. Enough damage has been done in the conservation areas by inappropriate tiles (on our house among them) without making matters much, much worse.
Most rear roof slopes would get some sunlight some of the time.

love detective said...

i thought solar panels work well enough on daylight rather than direct sunlight anyway, so does it really matter where they are placed

although got to admit the attitude of save the planet but not at the expense of the conversation area (which will somehow continue to exist without it's host, the earth)seems alive and well

Tressillian James said...

"save the planet but not at the expense of the conversation area (which will somehow continue to exist without it's host, the earth)seems alive and well"

I don't think anyone is saying that. Why can't we have both? To suggest that the planet won't be here if we don't slap solar panels on the front of the roof slopes is a tedious argument - much like saying it will cause Bangladesh to sink beneath the waves.

The huge targets are big business and aviation - not heritage.

love detective said...

someone who has one holiday a year as an easyjet trip to spain could equally say 'why can't I have both'

and given that for example, buildings themselves cause more environmetnal problems than all forms of transport combined, why is aviation singled out as a 'huge target'?

Brockley Nick said...

@TJ - in Europe, buildings account for 50% of all CO2 emissions. So they are a big part of the equation.

However, I agree with you that we should be able to reach sensible compromises which improve energy use, without wrecking the character and quality of our streets. I just don't see solar panels as being much of an intrusion on our streets. We allow TV aerials on our chimneys, which are surely more detrimental to the character of the buildings. Why? Because it's seen as a reasonable compromise.

Solar panels on roofs are barely visible from the street, they look a bit like slates and because of their cost and return on investment, are highly unlikely to be coating every roof in Brockley any time soon.

When there are so many serious acts of aesthetic vandalism committed in Brockley (stone cladding, front gardens turned in to drive ways, walls knocked down, upvc windows and doors, gaudy plastic signage on shop fronts, etc) why would you targeta few solar panels?

It's a question of picking battles surely?

@Tamsin - I rather like roofs with small skylights in. I don't see how they change the character or visual appeal of the house and they enable us to make more efficient use of our houses. Given how hostile people so many people are to new building, it's a simple way to achieve greater density without new builds...

Headhunter said...

I agree TJ, I support the use of solar panels on rear roof slopes but not on the front. I don't agree with Nick that they are unobtrusive, they are very obvious, large, flat grey slabs. Perhaps second only in ugliness to satellite dishes bolted to the front of buildings.

Most of the major streets in the Brockley conservation area (Tyrwhitt, Wickham, Breakspears etc) run on a north south axis anyway, so it would matter little whether they were on the front of rear slope, as both get the sun in pretty much equal measures. In any case there appears to be some debate as to whether solar panels even need to be in full sunlight anyway.

Of course I am all for preventing global environmental damage, and if there really was no other way and solar panels on the front roof slopes of the conservation area were likely to majke a major difference then I would reluctantly agree to them being there, but at the moment it seems far from necessary to site them on front roof slopes, just as it is unnecessary to site satellite dishes to the fronts of buildings.

Headhunter said...

Nick - Simply because other crimes against aesthetics have already been committed ("stone cladding, front gardens turned in to drive ways, walls knocked down, upvc windows and doors, gaudy plastic signage on shop fronts") why should we chuck in the towel and allow solar panels to be bolted to front roof slopes when it doesn't even appear to be completely necessary?

Brockley Nick said...

@HH - so we're agreed on the point of substance.

If placing them on the street-facing slope is the only practical option then we should allow it. If they can be placed on the back of the roof, then they should.

Cool.

westsider said...

let's be honest, the kind of people who want to install solar panels are the ones who'll be most bothered about the look of their street, so it's not going to be a major problem one way or another is it.

Anonymous said...

Not In Mung Back Yard

Tressillian James said...

This isn't a back yeard thing - it is the opinion of some that they should be allowed - they currently aren't - it is the opinion of others that the status quo should stand and that there are other ways (more effective) to make our homes more energy efficient.

I stand for heritage - under current regs they would be allowed on the back roof slopes - I don't see why that should change.

Nick - buildings may account for 50% of emmissions, but solar panels aren't fixing those emissions. Let's look at insulation etc.

There are ways to have a fully eco home - Greenwich Pennisula has a development. You can also put them all over your house if you live off the conservation area. You can put them on the back if you live in the conservation area. Is that not enough?

Brockley Nick said...

There are lots of nice streets that don't happen to be in any conservation area. You're happy for them to be plastered in solar panels, but not, for example, a modern house which happens to be in a conservation area.

I don't see how that makes sense.

No-one's arguing that it's not preferable to put them on the back of the roof if possible, but the question is: what if it's not possible? This is - I guess - only an issue in a very small percentage of houses and most of the owners of those houses will have no interest in installing solar panels. It seems like a tiny issue, compared with aerials, for example.

As Westsider suggests, this is probably a complete non-issue.

You're dead right about insulation, of course.

Tressillian James said...

@ westsider - not sure about that. The Transition Towns team in Brockley (led by a conservation area resident) recently came to a Broc Soc meeting to gain backing for their proposal that a) solar panels should bypass the planning process and b) the roofs of all houses in the conservation area be painted white (I belive) to reflect the suns rays.

Broc Soc didn't back either option.

Tressillian James said...

C'mon Nick - I'm not talking aobut other streets - you have no idea of my views there - I would say it is up to the residents. I made my choice by moving here. Nor was anyone discussing whether new rules for modern houses ought to be made.

I'd also say that if it is a very small parcentage of houses where the back roof slopes (or indeed the top flat roofs) can't be used - then why, for such a small return, ruin the look of the street and go against the conservation principles.

But let's agree to differ on this one.

Tyrwhitt Michael said...

I note the Church in Cranfield Road (St Peters?) has installed panels that are clearly visible from the road and indeed can be seen on Google Street View.

I wonder if they got permission?

Brockley Nick said...

@TJ - happy to agree to differ.

I thought you were clear about your views on other streets when you said:

"You can also put them all over your house if you live off the conservation area."

Tressillian James said...

Meaning there are no regs to stop you...

Brockley Nick said...

@TJ - re: Transition Towns. Very interesting. I've asked them what their specific ideas are for Brockley - they didn't mention those ones.

Tressillian James said...

It's in the Broc Soc minutes..and Sue was also there. They may have dropped them when there wasn't enough support. I may have their handout from the night - if I can find it I will scan and send to you.

Brockley Nick said...

Thanks, that would be great.

I can also ask them directly.

Headhunter said...

Yes, Nick, I would agree with you that solar panels be sited on the front slope of buildings only if it can be shown that they really will make a significant difference to household efficiency and that all other options (better insulation etc) have been carried out and also that they would be significantly less efficient/ineffective if sited on the rear slope.

I guess this is where my 2 interests - the conservation area and the environment - collide and for me the environment takes precedence. However solar panels would have to be shown to be damn effective for me to agree than they are absolutely essential on front roof slopes.

Anonymous said...

Poor Charlotte has been forgotten...

Anonymous said...

Yes, derailed by the NIMBY army again.

Good luck Charlotte.

love detective (née fred vest) said...

@ TJ - "but solar panels aren't fixing those emissions. Let's look at insulation etc."

so the ability of a home to cleanly produce enough electricty to run itself with and possibly to sell unused clean energy back to the grid will in no way reduce the reliance on fossil fuel produced electrictity and the emissions they produce?

Anonymous said...

well love detective or Fred - do modest solar panels really produce enough electiricity to power and heat a home and sell back to the grid?

Also if we follow this argument why not just put wind turbines all over Hilly Fields? Don't like the eyesore and the noise?...but it's for the environment...

love detective said...

what an odd argument

are you saying that unless solar power delivers at least all the energy required to power a house then it won't save at all on any emissions? there's no sliding scale or half way house, it's just all or nothing?

a typical setup could probably generate anything up to half the electricty currently used by a typical home, perhaps allowing some to be sold back to the grid in the summer months or other times of lower usage, there's lots of different permuations but it seems like you're saying that unless the problem is solved straight away/overnight then there's no point in progressing things

as far as renewable energy is concerned obviously a big part of it is about limiting environmental damage, but given there will be very little fossil fuel sources (that can be practically/efficiently exploited) around in another hundred years or so then the issue then becomes more about do you want energy in the future or not, if so then things need to start moving sooner rather than later and will take a whole mixure of different ways (and mistakes made and lessons learnt) to get there

nosferatu said...

Vote vampire, a million blood sucking un-dead can't be wrong.

Mind you a vegan vampire would be a very conflicted soul.

(I'm joking, really. Good luck and all that)

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