Hartlepool could light a new pathway for clean energy

GRIDSERVE is considering the construction of both an Electric Forecourt® and hybrid solar farm close to this famous port town. The proposal for Hartlepool could see up to 45 ultra rapid EV charging bays – the largest number of public chargers assembled in one location anywhere in the UK. This would include a specialist allocation for disabled EV drivers and commercial EV charging bays to accommodate buses and HGVs.

The ultimate electric vehicle charging experience

A single-story Electric Forecourt® facility would also feature inspiring areas to work, meet, rest and shop, while an adjacent solar farm and solar canopy also form core parts of the submission, exclusively providing zero carbon energy for the entire site while supporting the local grid. GRIDSERVE is also proposing a recreational route around the solar farm to better facilitate educational activities and tours when the site is operational.

The proposed site

The site of the proposed Electric Forecourt® is on the A179, located to the west of the historic maritime town of Hartlepool near the village of Sheraton, at Whelly Hill Farm, Hartlepool, and within proximity to a major junction on the popular A19. Full size redline drawing available on request.

This landmark project would cover 216 acres (87.4ha), accommodating both an Electric Forecourt® and adjacent hybrid solar farm with a direct transmission line. A Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) would also be accommodated on site, harvesting the renewable energy created throughout the day to be used in periods of peak demand.

We want to hear from you

Before submitting its planning application to Hartlepool Borough Council, the company is hosting a virtual consultation to provide further details and welcomes community feedback.

We believe all corners of the UK should benefit from the EV revolution

We’re investing heavily in areas like the north of England that have historically been underserved. At the same time as making long distance travel in an electric vehicle effortless, our ultimate aim with this project is to involve and inspire the people of Hartlepool to embrace the future of electric vehicles, to make a deeper connection to where our energy comes from and to help us tackle the climate emergency.

Your feedback matters

Asking for your feedback isn’t some performative tick box exercise. Every Electric Forecourt® that GRIDSERVE develops is designed to meet the specific needs of the local community.We believe all corners of the UK should benefit from the electric vehicle revolution, which is why we’re investing heavily in areas like the north of England that have historically been underserved.

How every Electric Forecourt® is developed

Using proprietary geodata, we identify areas of the UK that are most in need of EV charging infrastructure and put together a proposal for the local community to consider.

We collate all community feedback, making changes that add value, while monitoring any impacts on traffic, noise and ecology. This plan is then submitted to the local council for consideration.

With planning permission approved, we can begin construction, building both sustainably and quickly while always trying to mitigate any disruption to the local area.

With our EV chargers installed, local staff recruited and retail partners open for business, the filling station of the future is ready to serve, providing affordable, dependable sustainable energy.

Key consideration criteria

Solar farms are hugely beneficial to energy creation and energy security, but we’re aware not everybody likes the look of them. A landscaping and visual impact study is underway to help reduce visual impact with tactics that include breaking up panel areas, working with the topography of the land to conceal panels from the roadside and adding specialist planting between unused areas. There is also the more practical consideration of glint and glare, with a further assessment being prepared to mitigate risks for any nearby road users.

A transport assessment will form part of the planning application and determine the impact of development-related trips and increased traffic on the A19 and A179. Both major roads allow for easy construction access with little disruption to regular traffic flow. The Electric Forecourt® will not be a significant trip generator in itself but will instead be used predominantly by electric vehicles in the surrounding area.

A phase one ecology report has been conducted and identified no habitats of principal importance. The solar layout has also been designed to retain hedgerows and trees, providing the necessary corridors for wildlife to flourish. Ecology surveys have been undertaken and the findings collated. Ecology will be fully addressed within the planning application.

The site comprises a mix of agricultural land quality and our site selection and design strategy is to wherever possible avoid development on highest value soils. An agriculture and biodiversity management plan will be developed for the site that responds to these local conditions.

The site is situated predominately in ‘Flood Zone 1’ which is an area of land with the least probability of flooding. A flood risk assessment and drainage strategy will be submitted, suggesting that surface water from the site can be managed with a sustainable drainage solution.

Frequently asked questions

GRIDSERVE must present a balanced view of the project, considering the myriad factors that could impact the local community, both positively and negatively. By its nature, the consultation is incredibly varied, so we’ll discuss conservation, culture, carbon emissions, job creation, archaeology, air quality, health and much more. It’s not quite Tolstoy’s War and Peace, but it’s a significantly robust body of work. It needs to be because we’re serious and committed about the project going forward.

That’s entirely down to your point of view. It’s not just the big stuff that matters – the location, the branding or number of car spaces, for example. In due course, we’ll also be sweating the smaller stuff, including digital signage, and meeting pod names. If you want references that allude to this town’s rich maritime history, or fancy naming a meeting pod after the founder of West Hartlepool, Ralph Ward Jackson, put it in the feedback. It is important that these items have a local flavour, too.

Absolutely not. The Electric Forecourt® is designed for the community, which is why we encourage and welcome feedback from people of all walks of life, not just EV drivers. All local residents are a key part of this, and we want them to be inspired and involved.

You can speak to our customer support team even beyond the consultation phase, our metaphorical door is always open.

The decarbonisation of transport concerns everything from two-stroke scooters to 70-tonne Heavy Goods Vehicles and everything in between. Traditional car fleets may have much more choice at the moment, but electric commercial fleets are coming. Eight out of 10 freight miles currently take place on UK roads, so sites like Hartlepool must be future proofed to accommodate the inevitable switch.