Now the owners have submitted a planning application to install 200 solar panels on the island.
The application says that panels will be installed on a former tennis court and surrounded by a hedge that shields them from sight. But residents who live a few hundred yards away on the mainland contend that when they look out to sea they will be dazzled by reflected sun.
In papers submitted to South Hams district council, Deborah Clark and Tony Orchard, the owners, say their electricity costs have spiralled by 40 per cent in recent years. The 25-room Art Deco hotel, which opened in 1929, relies on an electricity supply from the mainland as well as expensive oil and bottled gas.
Mr Porter, who sold the island in 2001, said: “We are horrified that this application has been lodged. We spent 16 years doing everything we could to restore it to its former beauty. Now this green island sleeping in the sun is going to be scarred by this horrible shiny thing. It will visible from miles away. It is going to glint in the sun and spoil the whole thing.”
Four objections have been received to date by the council, including one from Hubert Ashton of Folly Hill, which overlooks the island. He said: “This would be a monstrous carbuncle on an old friend. It would be ruinous for the beauty of the island.”
All of this is fine. We get it. You value the island as it is, the current owners wish to reduce their electricity bills. The solution therefore is for you gentlemen, Mssrs. Porter and Ashton, to put your hands in your own pockets and pay the extra costs of keeping the island the way that you value it.
Otherwise you can fuck off.