'Farce' proposed Desborough electric charging points based on out-of-date Google map

Houses with driveways are being built on the supposedly empty plot where the points are proposed

By Sam Wildman
Wednesday, 26th February 2020, 6:00 am

Plans to install electric vehicle charging points in a Desborough street look likely to go back to the drawing board - after consultants failed to realise houses with driveways are being built at the proposed site.

A consultation ended this week on proposals to add the car chargers in up to 31 streets in the north of the county including some in Pioneer Avenue in the A6 town.

They are all on the road between houses 99 and 131 in the street, where four houses are currently being built with driveways and dropped kerbs.

L-R: Maurice Kiff, Cllr Phil Sawford and Harvey Smith outside the new houses which consultants failed to realise are being built. It's proposed that electric vehicle charging points are installed right outside the driveways.

Maurice Kiff, who lives opposite, was stunned to receive a letter showing where the bays would be - using a Google map image of walled-off trees he says dates as far back as 2009 and possibly even 2005.

He said: "Money has been wasted on these consultants. It's a farce.

"These pictures are all at least 10 years out of date. Nobody has bothered to get off their backside and have a look."

Northamptonshire County Council, who are working with Liberty Global to deliver the scheme, say there are no direct costs to them as project costs are being met through innovation funding and private sector cash.

The image used by consultants to plan out where the bays could be. Mr Kiff said the image is from as far back as 2009 and the site has drastically changed.

Planning permission was granted by Kettering Council to developer Harvey Smith to build the four dwellings in 2017 but planning consent for the site dates as far back as 2003.

Part of Mr Smith's planning approval is that those living at these homes use their driveways with kerbs outside due to be dropped imminently - yet the proposal is to put electric charging points right in front of them.

Mr Smith said he hasn't been consulted on the proposal despite being the landowner.

He said: "Had it not been for my neighbours I wouldn't have even known.

A consultation ended this week on 31 proposed streets.

"I've got planning consent for these houses with access to the driveways.

"They (consultants and the council) seemingly have no idea about this because these proposed bays are right outside. It's ridiculous."

The proposed sites were decided on based on criteria including: vehicle registrations in the local area, resident requests for electric vehicle charging points, predicted future update data, access to off-street charging, areas close to high streets and local amenities, being away from live equipment, away from the front of residential homes, in areas where there is a good pavement width to allow for charge points and pedestrians and areas with existing power and connectivity.

Cllr Phil Sawford (Lab), who represents the St Giles ward on Desborough Town Council, said the proposal was laughed out of a recent meeting and that the site was "totally inappropriate".

He said: "Up here it is a long way out of town to come and charge up even if it was a viable space.

"We want some where there are shops and facilities."

A Northamptonshire County Council spokesman said: “Issues like these are exactly why we have been undertaking a consultation to ensure everything is picked up at this early stage and Mr Kiff has spoken to us about his concerns.

"No decisions on definite sites have been made yet. Following the consultation, sites will be shortlisted and taken forward to the next stage, where residents will then get another opportunity to comment on the project."

The move to increase the number of electric vehicle charging points comes as a ban on selling new petrol, diesel or hybrid cars in the UK will be brought forward from 2040 to 2035 at the latest under government plans.

The UK wants to achieve a target of emitting virtually zero carbon by 2050.

The county council spokesman added: “One electric vehicle charging point will have the capability to charge two electric vehicles, with designated parking bays located next to the charge points.

"This will help people with electric vehicles living in residential areas with limited off-street parking, while simultaneously creating the infrastructure to encourage greater take-up of this more sustainable form of transport.”

Any new charging points are likely to be installed in the county this summer.