Berkhamsted family question council’s ‘green agenda’ after EV charger bay plans refused

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A Berkhamsted family has been left stunned after being fined over construction for an electric vehicle charger, after retrospective planning permission was refused by Dacorum District Council – despite highways officers advising it in the first place.

The Cowan family constructed an off-street parking bay for the charger outside his Boxmoor Road home, following advice from Hertfordshire highways officers.

He explained he was advised ‘all would be ok for the bay’ and to inform the highway department when it was complete.

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Mr Cowan said part way through the build, a Planning Enforcement Officer appeared and informed him he needed planning permission since Boxwell Road is in a conservation area – something the resident claimed had not been mentioned before.

The family were stunned by the council's response to their plans to support a greener future.The family were stunned by the council's response to their plans to support a greener future.
The family were stunned by the council's response to their plans to support a greener future.

As advised, the resident applied for retrospective planning permission but it was refused.

Planning officers said a site visit would be arranged with a conservation consultant to advise on how the bay could be adapted to conform with conservation objectives.

According to the applicant, the promised site visit never took place. Instead an enforcement notice was served on the property which Mr Cowan said ‘had serious legal and financial consequences’.

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Two appeals followed during which a Planning Appeals Consultant cited planning regulation directed at Government support for EV charging along with evidence of similar off street parking bays in Boxwell Road and surrounding streets.

The input of local Conservation architect also failed to win over planning officers who proceeded with the Enforcement Notice.

A spokesperson said: “The attitude of Dacorum Planning has been one of refusing to engage with the Cowans or respond to any request for discussion. Two letters to the CEO have gone without the courtesy of a reply. The family approached local councillors and the local Member of Parliament, again, to no avail.”

According to the family, the council’s representative advised them to ‘find another way of charging their electric vehicle’.

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Mr Cowan was fined and ordered to comply with the Enforcement Notice. He said: “What does this saga say about Dacorum's commitment to the Green Agenda?”

Dacorum Borough Council says it cannot comment since it is ‘an ongoing enforcement matter’.