Plans to install 45 electric vehicle charging points at a Basildon town centre car park look set for approval.

And one councillor believes the move will encourage residents to ditch high emission vehicles and reduce the threat of any potential congestion charge being introduced in the area.

A planning application to install the charging points at Great Oaks multi-storey car park will go before the Basildon Council’s planning committee next week.

The plans would see 45 active charging points installed at level 0.5 and the wiring installed for a potential further 45 points at level 1.5, if capacity is needed to be expanded in the future.

Cllr Kerry Smith, leader of the Independent Group, has welcomed the news as a boost to the town’s environmental ambitions.

“A lot of people have come to me, and other councillors, to say ‘okay, you politicians want us to drive electric cars, where are we going to charge them?’ and that is a perfectly fair comment,” he said.

“This will hopefully mean that more residents think ‘you know what, I might not be able to charge my car on my front drive, but I’ll pop to Basildon to get a few bits and while I’m there I’ll charge my car.”

Referencing proposals last year to introduce a congestion charge off the A127, Cllr Smith continued: “We have the threat of a potential congestion charge still hanging over our heads so whatever we can do to encourage people to have cars that will not be high in emissions, can only help us bat off once and all the threat of this congestion charge.”

The car park on the northern side of Basildon town centre currently provides spaces for 1,253 vehicles, however this scheme to install charging points would see that reduced by nine – no disabled or family car parking spaces will be lost.

The application, which has been recommended for approval, also includes provisions to install a mesh screen across the unused exit of the ground floor of the car park.

Council documents state: “This will provide a feature at street level to help identify the entrance and exit to the car park and wayfinding through the site. The material will be a mesh that affords some visibility through into the car park.”

A further mesh screen will also be installed at level 5 for “cosmetic purposes”, the documents add.

Additional refurbishment works are also planned for the car park, which do not require planning permission, such as new fire alarm and emergency voice communication systems, and a new coat of paint for the lifts and stairs.