This page provides information on our plans for an Electric Forecourt® in Stevenage.
GRIDSERVE Sustainable Energy Ltd plans to build and operate an Electric Forecourt® on land to the north-west of Junction 7 of the A1(M), Stevenage, SG1 2AX. It will provide a new facility for medium and high power electric vehicle charging, powered by 100% renewable energy.
It will help the UK’s transition to electric vehicles, reduce carbon emissions and improve air quality. The proposal will also create new jobs and put Stevenage on the map for new green technologies.
The Stevenage Borough Council has approved our initial planning application and we will update this page as we move through the development timeline.
Who is GRIDSERVE
GRIDSERVE is a UK based developer of low cost, clean energy solutions with roots that started with some of the world’s first commercial deployments of solar energy and energy storage solutions over 40-years ago. The GRIDSERVE team has been responsible for the development, construction, and operation of more than a gigawatt of solar energy and energy storage solutions, including connecting over 100 utility-scale sustainable energy projects to the UK grid in the last five years alone. With this project, we intend to continue our tech-enabled ‘sun to wheel’ infrastructure to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles.
The site of the proposed Electric Forecourt® is approximately 2.8 acres (1.1ha). It’s located on land to the north west of Junction 7 of the A1(M) in Stevenage, to the north of the existing Novotel hotel. The site is bounded to the east by the steep embankments leading to the A1(M).
The site forms part of the Knebworth Estate, but is separate from the historic parkland. It is currently used for agricultural purposes. Access into the site is from the existing access road leading to the Novotel hotel.
The proposed Electric Forecourt®
GRIDSERVE has carefully considered the feasibility of an Electric Forecourt® on the site and carried out a detailed site analysis. This analysis has considered environmental and planning designations, proximity to major roads and residential areas, existing screening, topography, proximity to the grid connection point, capacity in the local electricity grid and availability of electric vehicle charging facilities in the local area.
The point of connection to the grid is just south of the Novotel and it would be unviable to run the connection under the A1(M). The site therefore meets all of the criteria for an Electric Forecourt®.
An Electric Forecourt® is the new generation of filling station designed to meet the demands of the electric vehicle market. The concept was conceived through extensive research into the limitations and frustrations with existing charging infrastructure, and will future-proof Stevenage for the transition to green transport.
Stevenage currently has ten electric vehicle charging points. This has been recognised by the Borough Council in its Climate Strategy as insufficient to meet both current and forecasted demand.
The Stevenage Electric Forecourt® will provide 38 new medium and high power charging points and make a significant contribution to local electric vehicle infrastructure whilst serving passing traffic on the A1(M).
It will be a green and clean development that aligns with Local and National support for electrifying transportation to reduce carbon emissions and improve air quality.
Potential to charge up to 38 vehicles at very high speeds simultaneously.
A scheme that will enable people to transition to electric mobility and contribute to improvements to local air quality.
The use of 100% renewable energy to help with the transition to a net zero carbon economy. Including on-site solar generation to power the amenity building.
A pedestrian friendly, relaxing environment that allows customers to make the best use of their charging or ‘dwell’ time.
The creation of five new jobs in a growing sector of the economy.
Features of an Electric Forecourt® Electric Forecourts® support the transition to electric vehicles and future-proof communities to meet the UK’s net zero carbon goals. .
The Stevenage site includes a pedestrian friendly environment with external walking routes and a covered walkway that connects charging spaces to a two-storey hub building.
Within the hub building are a range of ancillary facilities, designed to maximise the experience of charging and optimise the use of driver dwell time.
Lounge-space for people to relax whilst charging their vehicle
Food and beverage, i.e. small-scale coffee shop
Small-scale retail convenience
Toilet facilities; and wellbeing area
Children’s play area
Key Development Principles
A modular design that is scalable and can largely be constructed off-site.
Ease of access from the highway network.
Sensitive landscape design and additional native tree planting.
Minimal land take through an efficient use of the site.
A green, clean and high-quality customer environment with ancillary facilities and services.
Use of permeable surfaces wherever possible.
“The proposed design has been developed around key principles to ensure environmental harmony and ongoing sustainability objectives are met.” - Raoul Tufnell
Landscape and Visual
A detailed Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment (LVIA) has been prepared for the site and formed part of the planning application.
Visibility of the site from the surrounding area is restricted by the A1(M) to the east and by large areas of existing woodland to the north, south and west. The site is not visible from Norton Green.
The LVIA included a number of photographs to assess the visibility of the proposal, which will be lower than the existing Novotel hotel and viewed against the backdrop of the A1(M) and the urban form of Stevenage.
The site is in the Green Belt, but it is considered that there are very special circumstances to justify the development of an Electric Forecourt®.
Any change to the landscape will be mitigated by enhancements to the site through additional tree planting and landscaping, which will effectively screen the proposal from the fields to the west.
The Electric Forecourt® will not be a significant trip generator in itself, and will be used mainly by cars already on the network. There will therefore be limited impact on local traffic levels.
A Transport Statement formed part of the planning application, the scope of which has been agreed with the Highways Agency and the County Council. The Statement demonstrates that there is sufficient capacity at the junction and that events at Knebworth House can still take place without the Forecourt affecting traffic flow.
An Ecological Appraisal and Aboricultural Impact Assessment were both been submitted as part of the planning application.
These reports have informed the design of the proposal and recommended significant new native planting (inc 57 new trees) to improve the on-site ecology and compensate for the removal of a single tree.
The site is situated predominately in ‘Flood Zone 1’ which is an area of land with the least probability of flooding.
Any surface water run-off will drain to an infiltration basin in the south-western corner of the site and an underground soakaway tank in the north-east corner of the site.
A Flood Risk Assessment and Drainage Strategy was submitted as part of the planning application, which provides further details.
A Noise Impact Assessment was prepared and submitted with the planning application.
The Assessment demonstrates that any noise from the development will not be heard beyond the immediate local area.
The impacts on the adjacent hotel are negligible, given the existing background noise levels from the motorway.
An Archaeological Assessment was prepared and submitted with the planning application.
This concluded there is low potential for any archaeological remains on the site but recommends a ‘watching brief’ on the site in the event that any archaeological remains are found during construction.