Plans to site solar panels on the roof of a Ceredigion seaside restaurant and hotel named ‘the best in Wales’ have been refused because of its potential impact on part of “one of the most important vistas in the county”.

Wells Jones sought listed building consent for 67 solar panels on the roof of the Harbourmaster Hotel, Quay Parade, Aberaeron, a Grade II-listed building.

The Harbourmaster, in the town’s conservation area, is one of the earliest buildings in Aberaeron and contemporary with the harbour built between 1807 and 1811 by Rev Alban T J Gwynne to enable the harbour master to monitor all shipping.

A report for Ceredigion planners said: “The location of solar PV panels on any listed building has to be fully explored and justified in heritage terms as they can be detrimental to the character, appearance and fabric of the listed building, and this justification should consider if there are any alternatives to impacting on the listed building itself.”

It said other options for the siting, and for other alternative renewables technologies, hadn’t been given enough consideration.

“It is adjudged that a proper consideration of all the options and alternatives from a heritage perspective (e.g. siting and setting) has not been provided with the submitted documentation. It is possible to install solar PV panels on listed buildings without these detrimentally affecting their character and appearance where they would be located behind a parapet or within a roof valley (although each case has to be considered in relation to the details and merits of the case, and fully justified).

“In this case however, the proposed solar PV panels would be highly visible located upon a building comprising one of the most important vistas in the county covering the entirety of the roof slope, and have a significant visual impact that would detrimentally affect the character and appearance of the listed building.”

It concluded: “Whilst there is a balance to be struck between the use of renewable energy technologies and the preservation of the character and appearance of listed buildings, the current proposal is not acceptable for the reasons set out above.”

Last year, The Harbourmaster was awarded a César Award from the Good Hotel Guide and named the best hotel in Wales.

The César awards, inspired by famous Swiss hotelier, César Ritz, are known as the Oscars of the hotel industry.