Northampton woman slams council for approving plans to build electric car charging port right outside her home
"The council said the box will be discreet, but it's light grey and is a canvas for yobs to put graffiti on. It's disgusting."
A Northampton woman has slammed the council for approving plans to build an electric car charging port outside her home.
Suzanne Avil says she is aggrieved that a 'chest-high' potential 'grafitti canvas' and tall metal pole has been placed outside her home in Vicarage Road as part of an electric vehicle charging port installation.
The 59-year-old podiatrist said she was never consulted about the plans by West Northamptonshire Council (WNC), which is why she is 'kicking up such a stink'.
However, WNC says it sent two letters out to every home in the street.
Suzanne said: "I'm really angry and very, very upset about the way it [WNC] has gone about it.
"The council said the box will be discrete, but it's light grey and is a canvas for yobs to put graffiti on. I can guarantee in a few weeks it will have graffiti on.
"We've got them at McDonald's and Tesco, which is fair enough, but to put them outside someone's property without informing them is disgusting.
"I'd be interested to know if they have approved other charging ports going right outside someone else's property."
According to Suzanne, the council said it sent her letters in the post, that the planning information is available online and a public consultation was held as part of the process.
However, Suzanne said she was unable to find any plans online, she didn't receive a letter and was not consulted.
She said: "The council is basically saying, 'we have followed the correct protocol, so tough'.
"They can't prove we did get a letter and we can't prove we didn't. Do they really think I would be kicking up a stink if I knew about this?
"It's alright the council saying it got over 400 replies in the consultation but I have spoken to the neighbours and they didn't know these charging ports were coming.
"The council said it processed the plans in the correct manner. I'm finding it very hard to find this 'readily available' information. And who has got time to read notices in the Chronicle and Echo?
"I think it's disgusting. It's almost like the council is above the law. It seems to me they don't care about what their actions have on other people."
Suzanne does concede, however, that electric cars are here to stay and are part of the future.
She said: "We understand that in the future that the way forward is with electric vehicles but I feel angry with the way the council have gone about it because no way were we informed.
"I feel aggrieved because we are trying to sell our property. In the future it could be a selling point, but if I saw it now it would put me off buying and it could affect the price of our house.
"And who can afford electric cars? I know a lot of people and I can't think of anyone who has got an electric car. I'm not being a snob but around here I don't think people can afford one."
When asked what Suzanne would like to happen next, she said: "There's nothing we can do about it now."
A West Northamptonshire Council spokesman said: "Two rounds of correspondence were sent by Royal Mail to every home along each of the streets subject to the trial, as well as to houses within a 50m radius of the site.
"Planning permission is required for the installation of charging points, and, therefore, this project was subject to the statutory planning consultation process, which included letters sent direct to homes closest to the charging points, information on the consultation section of the council’s website, planning notices on lamp posts, and there were two consultation notices published in the classified section of the Northampton Chronicle and Echo."