Charging pods to be installed in Sunderland as electric vehicle drive continues

Plans to install new electric vehicle charging pods in a busy public car park have been given the go-ahead.

By Chris Binding
Thursday, 15 August, 2019, 11:45
Nissan Leaf electric car being polished at the Nissan Plant, Sunderland. Picture by Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire

Earlier this month, council planners approved proposals for the Speculation Place car park off Spout Lane, Washington.

When completed, four dedicated spaces will be provided for drivers looking to charge electric vehicles (EV).

This includes four charging islands and two charging units per island.

The development will be put in place by Fastned UK Ltd, a European developer and operator of EV fast charging stations.

It is also one of five similar projects being delivered by the firm on behalf of the North East Combined Authority (NECA) to boost EV charging infrastructure across the region.

Fastned currently manages a fast charging station in Sunderland, in West Wear Street, close to the Wearmouth Bridge.

The site, which went live in April, also has solar panels on its canopy allowing it to provide 100% renewable electricity.

In a Design and Access Statement, applicants said the Washington charging stations would support the council in its plans to reduce carbon emissions.

This includes plans to “promote sustainable energy consumption and sustainable transport.”

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While the charging station would normally fall under ‘permitted development’ rights – the plan needed full planning permission for several reasons.

This included its “proximity to the highway” and the development exceeding 1.6 metres in height.

However, Sunderland City Council planning officers said the proposals posed no major risks – including privacy impacts on neighbours – and approved the plans last week (August 8).

They added the EV stations would help improve the range of vehicles using Concord Shopping Centre and represented an “important step forward for the city council in supporting sustainable development.”

Under planning conditions, the new EV charging station project must take place within three years.

A Construction Environmental Management Plan must also be submitted before the work can start.

This will cover days and hours of working and routes/parking arrangements for construction vehicles.

Sunderland has been championing the use of electric vehicles for the past decade, particularly after the city’s Nissan plant was chosen to produce the Japanese car manufacturer’s Lead model.