Proposal for more vehicle charging points in Southend

Southend could boast 24 additional electric car parking bays to encourage drivers to embrace green technology.

A total of 12 normal parking bays in the Warrior Square car park will be converted into electric charging parking bays as well as seven bays in Alexandra Street car park and seven in Southchurch East Park car park.

Councillors will be asked to vote on the launch of a consultation on the scheme next week.

A report to the traffic regulations working party cabinet committee, said: “The proposal aims to increase to increase parking availability for electric vehicles and therefore increase ownership of electric vehicles.”

Cllr Ron Woodley, deputy leader of the council, added: “It’s a start. We know where we need to be and we’re moving forward.

“I think instead of petrol stations we will also need electric vehicle charging stations as well.

“Carole Mulroney is working on in terms of residential planning and my role is to get as many public charging points as possible. We also need supermarkets to get people charging their cars while they shop. We need discussions across the town.

“In future electric vehicles’ running time will be longer as well. There are no concerns about losing normal parking spaces”

Jon Fuller, from the Essex Friends of the Earth, praised the move but insisted more must be done to encourage alternative forms of transport.

He said: “While I welcome more electric car charging bays in car parks and call for free parking for electric cars, this can only be a stop-gap solution. Those of us who live in densely populated areas like Southend and Basildon need to copy the London model.

“We all need to use cars a lot less, getting around by walk, cycle, bus and rail. The town centre car parks are now needed for something far more important – the new homes our nation desperately needs.”

Rochford and Southend East MP James Duddridge recently called for a boost in electric vehicle infrastructure to make the town “fit for the future”.

He urged the council to take advantage of Government schemes to improve the number of public vehicle charge points available to residents – particularly those without access to private parking.

The call came as official figures place Southend in the bottom 20 per cent of local authorities that provide electric charging points, with just 15 public charge points.


Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter