Film star Cate Blanchett and playwright Andrew Upton get permission for 90 solar panels at Crowborough home
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The couple sought planning permission to build the panels on agricultural land to the south of their Victorian mansion in January 2023.
A decision notice by Wealden District Council confirmed on October 26 that the council had granted planning permission subject to various conditions.
For example, it said: “No trees and/or hedgerows on the site, unless dead or dangerous, shall be felled, reduced, pruned or destroyed without the consent in writing of the Local Planning Authority.”
It added that certain work should not be carried out ‘within the approved protection zone of any tree or hedgerow, except with the consent of the Local Planning Authority’. It continued: “Levels shall not be raised or lowered in relation to the existing ground level within the approved protection zone of the tree or hedgerow. No roots shall be cut, trenches dug or soil removed within the approved protection zone of the tree or hedgerow.”
The council said these conditions are to ‘preserve trees and hedges on the site in the interests of visual amenity and the character of the area’.
There are many other conditions, including only undertaking works strictly in accordance with recommendations in an Ecological Report from April 28.
Cate Blanchett, 54, is known for her roles in Tár, Lord of the Rings and Blue Jasmine, while Andrew Upton, 57, is know for his work on The Turning, The White Guard and Gone.
The couple first applied for planning permission for the panels and an extension to existing plant room via their agent Whaleback Planning and Design. They were first denied their proposals after an ecological survey identified issues with the plans, saying that digging ‘trenches’ for connecting cables would affect the lives of the great-crested newts (GCN) and other species. They were eventually given the green light by a local newt officer, but were temporarily stopped again when Wealden District Council raised concerns about the potential noise being from the solar panel room. These noise claims were disputed by Jina Kwon, the UK GM of Otovo, a leading solar panel manufacturer.
Cate Blanchett bought the Crowborough property in 2015 for £5m.