REVOLUTIONARY plans to build the UK’s first electric vehicle charging forecourt have been unanimously approved.

Braintree Council’s planning committee has given full permission to solar power company Gridserve to construct a new charging station off London Road, Great Notley.

The scheme will coincide with major proposals to build a new business park in the area which council bosses hope will create up to 2,000 new jobs.

The forecourt will draw electric from an onsite solar panels and nearby solar energy farms.

Customers will be able to make use of a total of 24 charging points and Gridserve says it will offer sub 30-minute charging times.

Those using the forecourt will be invited to spend their waiting time in either a coffee shop, convenience store or airport-style lounge which are also planned for the site.

Speaking during a meeting on Tuesday where the plans were approved, Gridserve spokesman Raoul Tufnell insisted the forecourt would put Braintree on the map when it comes to sustainable energy.

He said: “This has the potential to be the first demonstrable project for delivering electric charging infrastructure for the masses.

“Braintree Electric Forecourt is at the forefront of electric vehicle charging infrastructure and will make significant statement regarding the council’s commitment to delivering a net zero economy and uphold the Government's objectives within the roads to zero strategy and most importantly bring momentum behind the need for more sustainable electric travel.”

Gridserve says there is potential to offer more charging points in the future, and provision had been made for HGV's and buses.

The forecourt will be open 24 hours a day and will be staffed between 6am and 10pm.

Councillors agreed the proposals were welcomed and all voted in favour of granting planning permission.

Gabrielle Spray said: "One of the drawbacks at the moment is the lack of charging facilities throughout the country.

"I think it does make people reluctant to take the leap to buying an electric car, particularly if you are driving considerable distances. I think this application is really welcome. We've got a pretty cutting edge design building and it's a first for the country so go Braintree.

Francesco Ricci added: "I think it's a great scheme, especially as it'll be a first. I think this goes to show steps are being taken to decarbonise the Braintree district."