I guess most people have heard about this now – Ben Elton has installed solar panels on his North Fremantle heritage-listed house. Shock horror! The Council demanded he remove them, as they “highly detract from the historical character of the circa 1900s heritage-listed property and streetscape”. Pffft. He had to go for a retrospective development application, with a $5 000 a day penalty. Finally, it now seems that the Council has agreed to see reason, and announced the solar panels can stay, for the next 25 years at least, until another application needs to be made and reviewed by Council (so leave the problem to someone else basically).
I really cannot see the problem with these solar panels. Yes, its a heritage building but what are we really trying to preserve? Why allow electricity and running water and sewerage and gas lines? I really don’t understand why we try to preserve the ‘look’ of a heritage building, at the expense of practicality and functionality, as if that is the only thing that is worth preserving. And I guess I’m also in shock that any council, particularly Freo, would try to knock back solar panels. Surely saving the planet is a bigger priority than preserving the aesthetic of our previous elite classes?