Plans to install solar panels on an ancient church that dates back almost 1,000 years have been approved by councillors – but the final say will rest with the government. 

The Anglican All Saints church in Chedgrave wants to install the devices as part of a project to provide electricity for the buildings' lighting and power. 

While part of the Grade I listed building dates back to the 12th century, the panels themselves would have been placed on an extension built in the 1990s. 

Beccles & Bungay Journal: Councillors supported the scheme but final approval rests with the government Councillors supported the scheme but final approval rests with the government (Image: George Thompson, LDRS)

Councillors at South Norfolk Council gave the scheme their backing at a meeting on Wednesday, despite objections from Historic England, a national heritage body. 

Historic England described the building as "remarkable" and "unusual", and had "serious concerns" the panels would negatively impact views of the church.

Speaking in support of the application, the Reverend Alison Ball argued the scheme, which would be on the western side, would not be visible from the main path towards the church. 

She said: “To be clear, we're not asking to put solar panels on the church we're asking to put them on the church [extension], which is less than 30 years old. 

“No one can deny the impact of climate change and because of it we are committed to doing what we can to reduce our carbon footprint.” 

Beccles & Bungay Journal: Kay Mason Billig said the plan has God on its sideKay Mason Billig said the plan has God on its side (Image: Norfolk County Council)

Local councillors Jeremy Rowe and Kay Mason Billig – who are Labour and Conservative members respectively - addressed the planning committee to offer support for the scheme. 

Ms Mason Billig argued the “pretty side” of the church would not be impacted and added that “God is on our side on this one”. 

The scheme was approved five voted for and one against. 

However, because of Historic England’s objection, the final decision will rest with the government’s housing secretary.

All Saints, Chedgrave

First built in the 12th century, All Saints was set out in the shape of a cross.

It has been extensively redeveloped over the years and was restored in the early 19th century.

Excavations in 1985 and 1992 found late Saxon human skeletons and a piece of Bronze Age pottery.

In the 1990s an extension was built with the space used by community groups.

The church was given Grade I listed status in September 1960.