A petrol station and convenience store in suburban Preston is set to install a bank of electric vehicle charging points on its forecourt.Advertisement
The operator of the Esso garage and Morrisons Daily outlet, on Garstang Road, has applied to Preston City Council for permission to introduce seven chargers at the site known as Fulwood Service Station; there are currently none.
If approved, the plans will result in the loss of half the existing general parking spaces, leaving six remaining.
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Documents submitted as part of the application state that the reduction in parking is “not expected to be of impact” and note that “whilst the primary purpose of the [electric vehicle charging] bays is to charge electric vehicles, these spaces can also be utilised by all vehicles, providing that the bay is in not in use for charging”.
The proposed change comes as figures show a rapid increase in the number of so-called “plug-in vehicles” – both fully electric and hybrid engines – on the streets of Preston.
According to House of Commons Library data, the figure almost tripled in the space of two years, rising from 516 in June 2021 to 1,414 by June 2023, the latest month for which statistics are available.
However, Preston still lags far behind the national and regional averages for electric vehicle take-up, with 558 in private keepership per 100,000 of the population. For the North West, that figure is 644, rising to 850 across the UK.
Within the most recent tally for Preston, the majority of plug-in vehicles – 906 – are battery electric, while 487 are hybrid petrol and just six are hybrid diesel.
Rontec, which runs Fulwood Service Station, says it is currently reviewing its entire portfolio of outlets “in the context of the growing electric vehicle market and changing customer requirements”. The firm adds that its Garstang Road site has been deemed “suitable” for the installation of charging points.
The chargers themselves would be placed next to the car wash and would also require the installation of a cabinet and substation towards the north western corner of the site. The application says that any noise from those additional facilities – which it is claimed would be “ very low-level” – would be masked by the existing air conditioning units behind the forecourt shop. A new floodlight in the same location would be angled “so as not to be intrusive to the neighbouring properties”
Some greenery will have to be removed to accommodate the new kit, but Rontec pledges to retain “a healthy amount of vegetation and landscaping” along the border of the plot.
The government intends to ban the sale of new electric vehicles from 2035, having recently pushed the originally-planned cut-off point back by five years.
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