Portfolio of Richard Dawson, RIBA architect based in Bingley, West Yorkshire, providing architectural services and project management.

New horticultural greenhouse and solar electric PV array

Location: Leathley, Otley, West Yorkshire

New horticultural greenhouse
Brief:  
The clients wanted to add a greenhouse to the farm re-development, building in the old vegetable plot, and install a 4kWp solar electric photovoltaic (PV) array on an adjacent outbuilding to complement their existing renewable ground source heat pump installation.  The group of farm buildings are not listed but within the Leathley Conservation Area served by Harrogate Borough Council.

Solution:  R Dawson Architect was engaged to obtain planning approval for the greenhouse and for the PV installation from the original development planning approval under reserved matters.

Photographs were taken and a basic dimension survey was needed to show the position of the new PV array on the cart shed roof.  The materials, type of panel and roof mounting frame arrangements were submitted with a fee for discharge of conditions.  Negotiations with planning took place and approval was granted.

Existing and proposed design drawings were prepared for a ‘lean-to’ timber greenhouse mounted on low stone walls and the ground levels adjusted for level access.  Located against the south facing wall, this maximises the heat retention from the stone walls.  The greenhouse is linked to an outbuilding used as a potting shed and storage via an existing door.

The local authority argued that the greenhouse proposal was not within the ‘garden‘ or ‘curtilege’ of the client’s house and a full planning application had to be submitted.  As a consequence of owning an old outbuilding, under local planning policy, a bat survey was commissioned and carried out by an ecologist.

This enabled the planning application to be validated.  The report determined that the greenhouse did not affect any bats.  After further consultation with Harrogate Council, the application was approved in 2010.

On the approval document, it was noted the greenhouse ‘it would not have any detrimental effect on the character of the existing house and appearance of the surrounding Conservation Area nor would it harm the openness of the West Yorkshire Green Belt’.