Putting a finger on it

This blog post concerns a topic we have raised previously, in On charge. That post related to the refusal of permission for an electric vehicle parking and charging area in front of a listed house in a Devon village. We raised the question of whether the implications of the move to electric vehicles had been properly thought through in respect of parking and charging. 

A similar case has come up (DCS Number 400-035-961), again in Devon. In this case the inspector found that the removal of railings and the creation of a hard surface, together with the scene of a car immediately adjacent to the appeal property, shielding it in part, would harm the village conservation area. He went on to put his finger on the problem:-

“I fully appreciate why the Appellant wishes to provide on-site charging for an electric car and all other things being equal almost all would see that as an environmental benefit. However, the question of how to deal with electric vehicle charging in areas such as this is a strategic and difficult one. It may need greater collective public or private initiatives because it is quite clear that convenience of charging and the sustainability merits attached thereto should not automatically trump other planning factors such as character and appearance and the value of heritage assets; these must form part of any sustainable development equation and planning balance.”

In the case before him the inspector gave greatest weight to the harm to the character and appearance of the locality, whatever the propulsion system of the car to be parked in the curtilage. 

The inspector is right. There is strategic thinking to be done. 

There is a section on electric vehicle charging points at section 13.647 of DCP Online.