“TAKE them down” – that was the distressing verdict for an elderly couple who have been ordered to remove solar panels from their garage.

Councillors at Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council told Alan and Sue Martin, both 71, that they need to remove the £6,615 panels that were put up last March.

The couple, of Loggon Road, Cranbourne, applied to the council for retrospective planning permission for 10 solar panels after the borough council received an objection from their neighbour.

But councillors rejected their application because of the impact on a neighbour, whose view from a bedroom and conservatory window is blocked by the panels.

Alan and Sue told councillors at the meeting that they had consulted neighbours about the solar panels.

Mr Martin told The Gazette: “I am desperately disappointed. We have lived here for a long time and wouldn’t hurt them for the world. I have always believed in solar energy and we should make the most of it.”

Mrs Martin added: “The stress of it all has made us very poorly.”

Nicola Beck, whose mother lives in Loggon Road, also addressed councillors at the meeting. She said: “My mother spends a lot of time in her conservatory enjoying the views of her garden. But ever since the panels were erected, this has reduced her enjoyment considerably, being the first thing she sees whenever she goes outside.”

Eddy Dammage, who originally installed the panels, told The Gazette he plans to help the couple.

He said: “If it is a case of moving the panels, then that won’t take long and I can do that for them.

“I am not going to charge them because they are an elderly couple.”