Berkhamsted Railway Station ‘monstrosity’ appears without warning and may be there forever

Berkhamsted's new electricity substation
Berkhamsted's new electricity substation
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A new electricity substation that appeared without warning in the middle of Berkhamsted Conservation Area has been branded a ‘monstrosity’.

The structure – which is next to the town’s railway station and surrounded by metal, palisade fencing – has been blasted by the leaders of a civic and amenity society.

Berkhamsted's new electricity substation.

Berkhamsted's new electricity substation.

Berkhamsted Citizens Association (BCA) member Paul Crosland said: “Seriously, what is going on with this ugly monstrosity plonked down in the conservation area?”

Network Rail does not have to get full planning permission for structures that aid the operation of the train service.

BCA chairman Susan Johnson said: “We might be stuck with this appalling-looking thing in a very prominent position in the conservation area, not 20 yards from the castle and the canal and the like.”

Substations, though ugly, step up the voltage needed to run trains.

Berkhamsted's new electricity substation.

Berkhamsted's new electricity substation.

Dacorum Borough Council therefore only has a narrow say on their construction.

A Network Rail spokesperson said: “Substations are placed at strategic points on the route, taking power from the National Grid converting electricity for the right voltage to power the trains.

“Full planning permission is not required for the operational railway, but instead we use ‘permitted development’.

“We are under constant pressure to provide a better value railway for fare and taxpayers, while also continuing to improve services. Permitted development and efficient design are all part of that.”

Mr Crosland complained that the station’s bins are blocking its taxi parking spaces, causing disruption for them and other drivers.