Durlston Castle to get solar panels to reduce carbon footprint

Planning permission has been granted to install solar panels at the Grade II listed castle set in the grounds of Durlston Country Park near Swanage.

Built as a Victorian folly by George Burt between 1887 and 1891 and now owned by Dorset Council, the castle will get an eco upgrade to help tackle climate change.

Advertisement 

At the Dorset Council eastern area planning committee on Wednesday 5th January 2022, councillors unanimously voted to approve the plans.

Initially, the proposal was to install 92 solar panels on top of the castle and across the roof of the modern extension that houses the Fine Foundation Gallery.

Fine Foundation Gallery at Durlston Castle
Dorset Council
Roof of Fine Foundation Gallery at Durlston Castle
Dorset Council

The solar panels will only be installed on the roof of the modern Fine Foundation Gallery building

Project was scaled back

However after consultation with heritage groups, the project was scaled back to 68 panels that would only be installed on the south facing gallery roof, avoiding disturbance to the original Victorian architecture.

In a presentation to councillors, the planning officer explained that while reducing the number of panels would mean cutting back the generation capacity of the scheme from 32 kilowatts to 28.5 kilowatts, it would still make a valuable contribution towards improving its eco credentials and reducing its energy costs.

View towards Durlston Castle
Durlston Castle

Durlston Castle was originally meant to be the centrepiece to George Burt’s Durlston housing estate, which in the end was never built

Funded by a £19 million government grant

Swanage ward councillor Bill Trite said:

“The whole Durlston complex is marvellous and what is good for that, I’m sure is good for Swanage, so I’m very happy to support the proposals.”

The cost of the solar panels will be funded from a £19 million government grant that was awarded to Dorset Council to make its public buildings more energy efficient and to boost the installation of low carbon heating measures.

Seaview at Durlston Country Park
Newly relaid paths at Durlston Country Park

The grounds have recently been restored to encourage greater environmental diversity

“Reduce Dorset Council’s carbon footprint

Councillor Ray Bryan, Dorset Council’s portfolio holder for highways, travel and environment, said:

“We’re delighted to be able to move ahead with our solar panel plans for Durlston Country Park. Using our existing properties to install these kinds of measures is a key part of our Climate and Ecological Emergency Strategy, and we’re currently planning similar works for other buildings across the county.

“I’d like to once again thank the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and Salix Finance for the funding they’ve provided to ensure we can continue to reduce Dorset Council’s carbon footprint and help us tackle the climate crisis.”

Now that permission has been granted, it’s expected that the solar panels will be installed and working at Durlston Country Park by March 2022.

Share this story

Contact us

Do you have anything to add to this story?

We like to keep everything up-to-date, so if you know more, please help us by getting in touch.

Advertisement 

Top stories

Swanage Railway offers locals half price tickets for weekend Volunteers at Swanage Railway are to give the public a rare chance to see behind the scenes of the award winning heritage railway - with half price train tickets available ... 1 month ago Corfe River bursts its banks causing flood chaos 2 months ago Beavers in Studland due to likely unlawful release 1 month ago Pop up sculpture surprises dog walkers on Swanage Beach 1 month ago What’s on in Swanage: Festivals line-up for 2024 3 days ago

Most recent

Work starts on new bogs for Studland While spiders in bogs are not always welcome, there’s hope that the restoration of the peatland habitat in Studland, Dorset will see the widespread return of the rare raft spider. 16 hours ago Warm Swanage welcome lifts the blues for UK coast walker 2 days ago What’s on in Swanage: Festivals line-up for 2024 3 days ago Unsung heroes shine as Swanage Railway celebrates its volunteers 4 days ago Popular Swanage festival scales up to cater for all tastes 5 days ago