‘Woeful lack’ of electric vehicle charging points in Bexhill and Battle area

A community cardiologist has criticised the “woeful lack” of electric vehicle charging points in the Bexhill and Battle area.

Monday, 1st November 2021, 10:32 am
Updated Tuesday, 2nd November 2021, 4:08 pm

Dr Richard Blakey said he has emailed Huw Merriman, chair of the Transport Select Committee, and MP for the area to complain about the issue.

Dr Blakey added that with world leaders gathering for the landmark COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow, he wanted to “flag up just how poor the local provision is when the Government claims to be a leader in tackling climate change and while we are fortunate enough to have the chair of the Transport Select Committee as our local representative in Parliament.”

He added: “I live in Heathfield and have a hybrid vehicle. Very shortly after getting it I realised that I could run it almost entirely on ‘pure’ electricity because of the availability of charging where I tend to travel to.

Rother 'needs more EV charging points'. Picture: RADAR.

“I work as a community cardiologist with clinics in Eastbourne, where there are many options for charging in car parks and at supermarkets. Most of my other journeys are to Uckfield, Hailsham and Lewes, all places where I can charge my car.”

However, Dr Blakey said he has recently started driving to Bexhill to visit a sick relative, and needs to charge his car there to ensure 100% use of electricity.

“There is absolutely nowhere in central Bexhill,” he said, “and the nearest at Aldi is reported as out of use. If I were allowed to use the charging point at The Cooden Beach Hotel, it would be a nice help as it is only for charging Tesla vehicles, which I don’t have. There are charging points at the Hyundai and Nissan garages but obviously only for their patrons.”

He said Battle is “equally poor” with the only publicly available point at the Route 1066 Cafe on the A21.

He has searched Rother District Council’s website for posts about electric vehicle charging points in the Bexhill and Battle area - and said the answers to questions were “at best disappointing”.

“They claim the electricity infrastructure is inadequate for charging points which I do not believe as so many supermarkets seem to manage to provide them,” he said.

Rother District Council is ranked 263 out of 343 local authority areas for electric vehicle charging infrastructure, according to recent data by Compare The Market. Hastings is ranked 191 on the list, Lewes 233, and Wealden 325.

Huw Merriman MP said: “Progress to increase the number of electric vehicle charging points locally has been far too slow. With the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans due to end by 2030, it is vital that we have sufficient charging infrastructure to cope with the increasing number of electric vehicles on our roads.

“The Transport Select Committee, which I chair, recently held an inquiry into this issue and found that nearly a third of the multimillion fund allocated by Government to help local authorities install on-street residential charge points was unused. I have written to East Sussex County to ask why they have not bid for funding and to encourage them to do so before it is spent in other parts of the country. Clearly more needs to be done across the board, though. For example, in the forthcoming Planning Bill, we should make it a requirement that new estates are built with charging points included.”