Potters Bar security gates refused while cars on driveways targeted

PUBLISHED: 15:59 23 March 2019

The would-be thief is seen looking into the boot of a Mountway resident's car. Picture: supplied

The would-be thief is seen looking into the boot of a Mountway resident's car. Picture: supplied

supplied

Potters Bar driveways have been targeted by would-be thieves - after residents were refused planning permission for security gates, partly on grounds that they would “increase perception of crime”.

In the early hours of March 5, a man was recorded on CCTV sneaking onto two driveways on Mountway, including the home of Conservative councillor for Potters Bar Parkfield, Abhishek Savhdev.

The reflective stripes on his hi-vis jacket showing up brightly on the footage, he can be seen opening and looking into the boot of one car, then approaching the councillor’s driveway next door and seeming to try the second car.

Police made a separate CCTV appeal in February, after a man made similar attempts on Pinewood Drive.

In addition, vehicle theft is on the rise.

The would-be thief then appears to try Cllr Sachdev's car. Picture: suppliedThe would-be thief then appears to try Cllr Sachdev's car. Picture: supplied

Since April last year, there have been 208 vehicle thefts in Hertsmere, a 36 per cent increase and one of the highest leaps in the county.

In February, a couple on Highfield Way were shocked to find that their car had been stolen from their driveway in a keyless theft, saying that they intended to get gates installed.

But for those on Mountway, planning officers routinely refuse requests to install gates, due to existing policy for the conservation area of Darkes Lane West.

Both Cllr Sachdev and his neighbour Anthony Andrews who was targeted on March 5, have had planning applications for gates refused in recent months.

Cllr Sachdev's drive, currently without security gates due to planning restrictions. Picture: Cllr Abhishek SachdevCllr Sachdev's drive, currently without security gates due to planning restrictions. Picture: Cllr Abhishek Sachdev

There are several reasons given by the planning committee, including consideration about the character of the street and traffic flow, and that the proposed gates would create “a dominant feature in the street scene which would increase sense of segregation, fear and perception of crime”.

An objection from the Potters Bar Society states that gates “give the impression that the town is lawless and properties need total protection, which is not the case”.

Mr Andrews said he “very much respects” the need for stringent planning restrictions, but he believes that the theft attempt on his car would have been prevented if he had had gates. Cllr Sachdev said he intends to raise the question of whether the policy is suitable. “It’s something that I plan to push for and change myself as a resident,” he said.

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