Park Garage Group expects to go live with non-branded chargepoints in the next couple of weeks at its Blackpool site

Top 50 Indie Park Garage Group is about to start operating its first electric vehicle chargepoints, with EV pricing on its forecourt fuel pole and wheelchair access.

The three double-side 480kW ultra-fast chargers, due to be operational in a couple of weeks at its Blackpool forecourt, will have six wide bays, and the connectors will be positioned at a lower height giving ease of use for customers who are in a wheelchair, says head of operations Ian Cawley.

The Park & Shop branded site, one of 77 operated by the operator, already had access to sufficient power from when it was under previous ownership three years ago, but Park Garage Group invested upwards of £100,000 for a new sub station, the chargers from Helix Renewable Energy Services, and a lit canopy covering them.

The business opted for unbranded chargers, with it steering away from revenue share deals in everything from coffee to carwash. “We always do the wholesale model, we make the capital expenditure and then benefit from any increases in sales,” said Cawley. “It is the same with using our own Park & Shop fascia on the store, it gives us freedom to do what we want to do not being tied in by brands,” he added.

Early indicators are that the chargepoints will be popular, he believes, with locals and also tourists visiting the seaside town, with the site being near to the M55. The chargers will complement the strong food to go offering at the Shell location which has a 26-seat Greggs, Rollover and Starbucks.


The 26-seater Greggs will complement the EV chargers, says Park Garage Group

“There aren’t many chargers, and particularly fast chargers, in the area. They look fantastic and the early signs are good with lots of customers asking when they will be working,” said Cawley.


Early signs indicate there will be lots of customer interest in the chargers at the Blackpool Park & Shop, says the business

If the EV station performs well, the concept will be introduced at the group’s flagship store in Rushton, Northampton, possibly by the end of this year, and into two knockdown rebuilds it is planning at Twenty Mile Service Station in Sevenoaks, Kent, and Scholes, near Cleckheaton in West Yorkshire, planned respectively for the end of next year and in 2026.

Rolling out Greggs upgrades at a rate of one a month throughout the Park & Shop estate, fits with the EV proposition, said Cawley.

The business is also planning four wider store refits of its sites at Mogador in Surrey, Maidstone in Kent, Scholes and Sevenoaks.

Cawley believes that the industry should be turning its sights to EV charging now, with the Labour Party indicating that if it wins the general election it will restore the 2030 deadline banning the sale of new petrol and diesel cars. “I think it is important for us to build towards EV charging now. I don’t think the power infrastructure will be ready for 2030, or even 2035. With a good wind behind us it will be more like 2040.

“EV cars are not cheap and we are in a cost of living crisis. However, we need to be preparing with better food to go offerings.”