EGG worked specifically with Mid Suffolk District Council to facilitate the project which reflected the sustainable transport vision set out in the town’s Neighbourhood Plan. Firstly, we provided expert evidence during the preparation of the Neighbourhood Plan. We then explored potential installation points, with the council identifying a location in a public car park which they owned. We used the Community Infrastructure Levy to fund the project and worked closely with the council on the application to secure the money. We were successful in this application which provided the working capital to go ahead with the project.
Two electric charging points were installed in a local car park in 2020, but the road to installation was complex and relied on collaboration between a number of crucial partners and supporters. Mid Suffolk District Council agreed to organise the installation but early on we needed someone to administer the operating contract. Eye Town Council stepped up to take on that responsibility with sponsorship from the hugely supportive East of England Co-op. Even connecting the charging posts to the network required support from the landlord of the Queen’s Head public house who gave permission for the connection to cross their land. At the final stages of the installation, Mid Suffolk Council agreed to manage the post which helped to complete the project successfully.
The charging station is already seeing use from locals and visitors, and we expect that usage to grow over time as fossil fuel vehicles begin to be phased out. This is a small-scale project, but it will make a significant difference to the future of sustainable transport in Eye, and it’s a great example of what a community can do when it comes together to work towards a sustainable goal.
Tap into local knowledge – Communities are crucial in bringing projects like this to life as they understand local people, local needs, and the local area; they can provide crucial context to larger bodies – like councils – to help shape initiatives.
Follow previously trodden paths – The logistics and administration of these types of projects can be complex. Get advice from other community groups, people who work in the industry, or national bodies who have completed similar projects and learn from them. It’s also important to talk to your council to find out what technical and financial support may be available.