Pioneering ‘smart benches’ fall foul of planning rules | London

By Katie Barnfield: ITV London reporter

A place to stop, sit down and charge up for free. But not for long. Once hailed as a pioneering piece of street technology these ‘smart benches’ have fallen foul of council officers.

Out of five installed across Islington four are being scrapped. The company that makes the benches, Strawberry Energy, was told by the council it didn’t need planning permission to install them.

But that turned out not to be the case and has been given three months to tear them out.

The benches were installed to much fanfare six months ago. But when retrospective planning permission was sought in July the committee received a raft of objections:

One of the objections even came from the council’s own conservation department. It said the benches were ‘wholly inappropriate’, and caused ‘visual harm’ to the area.

Strawberry Energy says it will continue working with the council and hopes to find alternative locations in the future.

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