HISTORIC Durlston Castle at Swanage could be fitted with solar panels if Dorset councillors agree.

An area planning committee is being asked to approve the application, from the council, at a meeting on Wednesday, January 5.

The proposals have already been scaled back in the light of objections to fitting the panels to the main building.

A revised application is now being considered which has removed the proposed panels from flat-roofed areas of the original 1877 castle building, a grade 2 listed building.

Dorset Council originally intended to fit 92 panels to the building on the southern and western roof planes of the original castle building and on the southward facing roof above the art gallery, but has now reduced this to 65 panels on the art gallery roof – enough to produce around 20MW of power each year.

Swanage town council raised no objection to the changes with the Dorset Council’s conservation and design officer commenting that by using only the art gallery roof the 'harm' would be largely removed to the setting of the listed building itself.

Funding for the project comes via a grant given to Dorset Council by the Government to help meet the cost of improving energy efficiency of public buildings in the county.

Other solar applications have already been approved including at the Purbeck School and sports centre, County Hall in Dorchester and at various other school and hall sites throughout the Dorset Council area.