OTLEY'S secondary school could be fitted with nearly 900 roof-mounted solar panels.

A planning application has been lodged that would see 'around 885' photovoltaic (PV) panels installed at Prince Henry's Grammar School.

The scheme - which is being considered under Permitted Development rules - would mainly affect the new-build roof at the school.

Solar Options for Schools Ltd's Project and Business Manager, Ann Flaherty, says in the company's supporting statement to Leeds City Council that: "The proposed scheme to install 885 solar panels on the roof of Prince Henry’s Grammar School meets with the criteria for permitted development.

"Even though part of the school is in the Otley Conservation Area, the proposed installation will be on buildings that sit outside the Conservation Area.

"The design and appearance of the solar panels to be installed on flat roof areas of the buildings, and the one pitched roof, would be in keeping with the character of the school as a centre of learning and have no adverse impact on either the character of the surrounding area or local residents."

The statement goes on to claim that there would also be no 'detrimental impact on the amenities of the occupiers of adjacent properties to the site'.

Only one resident has commented on the proposal - which can be viewed online by searching for 19/01042/DPD at www.leeds.gov.uk/publicaccess - so far.

John Callaghan, of Prince Henry Road, makes clear that he supports the school's 'intention of reducing its carbon footprint'.

But he goes on to raise concerns about the potential impact of the solar scheme on a large nearby bat roost - the same issue that caused a proposal for an all-weather sports pitch at the school to recently be (temporarily) withdrawn.

Mr Callaghan's statement says: "I am surprised that the application makes no reference to the presence of a regionally important bat roost for three species immediately adjacent to the most northerly array of panels over the Chippindale pool.

"I am concerned that the installation of the panels may disturb the roost and...that the large surface area of the panels may have a detrimental effect on the bats' flight paths, feeding patterns and other behaviours.

"I support the school's intention of reducing its carbon footprint, and I hope there is a way to realise solar power for the school while protecting the bats and wider biodiversity in the area."

He goes on to ask for the application to be referred to the council's Nature Team.