An artist's impression of the proposed new Sainsbury's supermarket at Meols Cop retial park in Southport

Sainsbury’s is abandoning plans to build a new petrol filling station at its new superstore in Southport – and will instead build an Electric Vehicle Charging Hub instead. 

The supermarket giant is currently constructing a 81,330 sq ft flagship foodstore at Meols Cop retail park in Blowick. 

Planning permission has been granted for a petrol filling station as part of the scheme, but Sainsbury’s says it has been inspired by Sefton Council’s declaration of a Climate Emergency to alter its plans. 

The firm said: “The proposal provides a low carbon alternative to the previously approved petrol filling station, which assists with meeting the national and local Government aims of achieving sustainable development and reducing carbon emissions.” 

The new scheme includes provision for eight Kempower EV charging units across 14 EV parking spaces, along with all associated infrastructure. 

Savills, which owns Meols Cop retail park, has submitted a planning application to Sefton Council for the change of plans. 

In the application, they said: “In July 2019, Sefton Council declared a climate emergency. In doing so, the Council has committed to reducing carbon emissions and resolves to go further than the UK100 Agreement and to act in line with the scientific consensus that we must reduce emissions to net zero by 2030, by: 

“1. Making the Council’s activities net-zero carbon by 2030; 

“2. Ensuring that all strategic decisions are in line with a shift to zero carbon by 2030; and 

“3. Achieving 100% clean energy across Sefton Council’s full range of functions by 2030. 

“The proposed development seeks planning permission to provide an EV charging hub at the site, in place of the formerly approved petrol filling station. 

“The proposal is symptomatic of the growing popularity of electric vehicles and accords with national Government objectives to ensure that the appropriate infrastructure is in place to facilitate a societal transition towards low emission vehicles. 

“By providing the necessary infrastructure to support that transition, the proposal will also result in an associated reduction in local air quality. 

“The proposed EV charging hub encourages and provides for low carbon methods of transport. The associated reduction in carbon emissions can only result in positive impacts on the natural environment. 

“As the EV charging hub will be accessed by motorists intending on recharging their electric vehicles, it will be accessed and operate in the same manner as would a petrol filling station. 

“We consider that the impacts of the proposed development are entirely positive, particularly when considered with the development of the approved petrol filling station.”  

The new Sainsbury’s superstore will create 160 new jobs and revitalise the retail park, following the closure of the Homebase store seven years ago. 

The investment by Sainsbury’s is supporting over 200 jobs during construction.

It will create 30 full time positions and 130 part time roles in the store and meet the shopping needs of the community. 

Meols Cop Retail Park is located approximately 2.5km to the east of Southport town centre, accommodating a variety of national multiple retailers including Home Bargains, Argos and Halfords. 

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