Crosthwaite is one of the most beautiful villages in England. It’s in the Lake District National Park and happens to be the location of one of my hotels, the Damson Dene. Because it’s in the National Park there are very strict planning regulations, very few planning applications for new buildings are granted every year and those that are, are subject to very strict regulations. One of these is that the roof must be made with Burlington slate. Not any old slate, which might cut the cost by half, but Burlington slate,which is quarried locally and is exactly the right colour. There’s a good reason for this, which is that every house built in the last few hundred years in this area has used Burlington slate. Any other colour would look out of place.
Every house in Crosthwaite, without exception is roofed with Burlington slate. The houses are made of local stone and some of them are whitewashed. I travel through the village nearly every day on my way from Kendal to the Damson Dene and the journey, which takes me through lovely countryside, is a joy, not least because of the vernacular architecture. But now there is a blot on the landscape, or, as Prince Charles would put it, a carbuncle. One of the beautiful old cottages in the village has covered the slate roof with solar panels. They are ugly beyond belief. The sadness is that the local council, who are Lib-dems, and the local MP, who is likewise, all worship at the altar of Green correctness. In their effort to be seen to be Green they overlook the fact that these panels are almost worthless in one of the least sunny parts of England; that they are only being installed because of a taxpayer subsidy and that the cost is added to electricity bills as a stealth tax which is wholly regressive. Both the owner and the local councillors who permitted it should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves.