ONE FAMILY has erupted after a council billed £20,000 just to allow them to install power cables.
Sarah Pope and her husband said it was “the flip side of winning the lottery” after they were charged too much money to run a cable through a piece of local government-owned land near their home in Truro, Cornwall.
The council wouldn’t even do the work – but sent a fee just to allow the family to use its land.
The family needed cables to power an extension of their house built for Sarah’s elderly parents.
But the plan hit a snag when National Grid told the couple it was impossible to run a connection from the pole to their extension.
The family then had to dig a trench on a piece of council-owned land to connect the extension to the National Grid.
That’s when the council told them they would be charged £20k.
The actual cost of the work, which will be carried out by private contractors, is £5,000.
Sarah’s daughter, Emily Scrivener, who is managing the construction project, said the family felt “redemption.”
Emily said CornwallLive: “I imagine the phone call is the exact opposite of someone telling you you won the lottery.”
Emily said her parents had to sell their bungalow and have now lost “a lot of money that will never be recovered”.
She added: “I honestly think it’s disgusting to take a commercial stance and take advantage of my older relatives is a crime in my opinion,” she said.
“They are on a fixed income and have had to sell their bungalow, losing a lot of money that will never be recovered because it is not an investment that will bring financial benefit to anyone. in us.
“It’s a decision purely about health and wellbeing.”
Tom Edwards, partner in property disputes at LCF Law, advises homeowners to do their research before undertaking any expansion work.
A Cornwall Council spokesman said it was a longstanding professional practice of paying landowners to access and use their land to facilitate development.
They added: “Fees are determined by an increase in the value of the property and while residents should ideally seek council permission before developing an addendum, that doesn’t change the approach of the property. council for valuation.
“Residents are invited to appoint a privileged surveyor to discuss the matter with the council if they remain unsatisfied but a substantial discount on the valuation has been offered.”