Northampton parents slam 'ridiculous' council over electric charging port and driveway planning application rejection

"Does there need to be a death before the council says, 'we should have done that'. It just doesn't make sense"

Tuesday, 3rd August 2021, 12:00 pm
Updated Wednesday, 4th August 2021, 12:10 am

A Northampton couple have slammed the council as 'ridiculous' for not letting them go ahead with plans to build a driveway and install an electric car charging port at their property.

Ginette Fraher and her partner Daniel Vernon, who live in Booth Lane South with their five children, submitted the planning application to West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) back in June last year.

According to the couple, the plans were submitted for their children's safety - as drivers regularly speed down the street -, to be environmentally friendly by using an electric car, and to stop their vehicle from being damaged by other motorists clipping a wing mirror, for example.

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Daniel outside the family home in Booth Lane South. Photo: Leila Coker

The street is a busy road located opposite Weston Favell School and nearby to Booth Lane college, which ultimately brings a lot of traffic to the area.

However, the plans were rejected in October and then later appealed by the couple, which was rejected again by the council.

The main reason for rejection was the plans would 'change the character of the area', according to planning papers.

Ginette and Chris said: "We asked everyone [about the plans] and they said they want driveways. It's just one neighbour who doesn't want it.

The road outside the family's home is usually busy with parked cars and traffic from Weston Favell School and Booth Lane College. Photo: Google Maps

"It's our property and this is what we would like to do. The council is making it as difficult as possible. It just infuriates us for people to tell us what we can and can't do to our property.

"We have to go in the road to get the children into the car. That's putting children's and parents' lives at risk. People's safety should be more important than how something looks.

"We also want an electric car, to be environmentally friendly, but we have nowhere to charge it. The council is just worried about how the road looks. It's just ridiculous."

The couple has spent £800 so far submitting the planning application, which does not include the 'time, energy and stress' its also brought on.

The pair added: "We don't want to do a retrospective planning application, we want to do it properly.

"People don't realise how bad the road is and the speed drivers come down it. I asked planning to come at a peak time [to see the traffic] but they didn't.

"Does there need to be a death before the council says, 'we should have done that'. It just doesn't make sense."

The council's website states: "One of the key barriers to the adoption of electric vehicles is range anxiety due to the lack of a comprehensive charging network. This is particularly the case for those who are unable to charge at home because they live in housing with no, or limited access to off-street parking."

Former councillor for the Westone area, Brian Markham, who has lived in the area for over 40 years, agreed with the council's decision.

He said: "You have got to take into account how it would affect the area.

"If this application was successful, how many other people would apply for the same thing? There's about 40 to 50 houses along that road.

"There is an alternative and it would certainly cost less. I would recommend putting the drive and charging point at the back of the houses."

West Northamptonshire Council has been contacted for comment.