A planning application for three ultra-rapid electric vehicle (EV) charging points on a residential road in Garston has been met with fierce opposition from locals.
In the application, submitted to Watford Borough Council (WBC) on September 14, LEAP24 relayed its intentions to demolish an ex-council garage site and install three charging points on St Albans Road.
To the horror of residents living on either side, the proposed facility would be open 24/7.
With ultra-rapid chargers aimed at commercial vehicles which are travelling long distances, the proposed facility’s proximity to the M1 and M25 would likely attract heavy goods vehicles onto the already congested road.
WBC sold the site to LEAP24 in early June. A resident, who asked to remain anonymous, told GarstonNews that residents of St Albans Road were not notified of the sale nor of plans to build a charging facility.
Between September 19 and 24, 13 public objections were submitted to WBC’s website.
Local resident Prasad Bashapakala argues: “The installation of an EV charging station in a densely populated residential area such as ours raises serious concerns about the potential impact on our quality of life, traffic, property values and more.
“EV charging stations often generate noise during operation, especially when they are in use late at night or during the early morning hours.”
Another common concern is that the area is highly pedestrianised, with children often walking along the road on their way to school.
Resident Gopalkrishna Hedge said: “We are two miles away from the motorway and it makes no sense to bring motorway vehicles into a domestic area. There are other nearby commercial locations, including petrol stations and supermarkets, which can cater to [charging] needs more safely.”
Fellow resident Verity Allen added: “There is no predecessor for building these ultra-rapid chargers in residential areas in the UK, as far as I am aware.”
Asked to respond to residents’ concerns, LEAP24 founder Peter Schlichting told Garstonnews: “We are convinced that our development will have a positive effect on the area, especially the improvements in air quality and reduction of noise resulting for the transition towards electric vehicles will benefit the direct surroundings.”
To view the planning application in full, search reference ‘23/00765/FUL’ on WBC’s planning portal at pa.watford.gov.uk/publicaccess