Northumberland County Council under fire over electric car charging points

Northumberland County Council has been accused of wasting taxpayers' money after having to rip out partially installed electric car charging points

The part installed electric car charging points at Cramlington
The part installed electric car charging points at Cramlington
 

Council bosses have been accused of a "monumental waste of taxpayers' money" after being forced to rip out partially-installed electric car charging points.

Northumberland County Council spent £53,000 on buying and beginning to install two charging points in the car park at the old library building in Cramlington, despite knowing that the building was being sold.

And when it turned out the car park was also to be sold weeks later, the authority was forced to remove the equipment it had installed.

Now documents seen by The Journal reveal the charging points could yet be reinstated at the site.

The situation was last night slammed by a county councillor for Cramlington, who said taxpayers would have to pick up the bill and claimed the installation work should not have begun given that the library was being sold.

The county council agreed to install the charging points in the car park of the former library building in April.

At the time, emails seen by The Journal reveal the authority knew the library building was being sold, but that the car park was to be retained.

Information seen by The Journal reveal that the cost of the equipment and installation was £53,000, part funded by the government, with installation alone £2,500. However, it then emerged that the car park was to be sold along with the library building and the council then had to remove the unit.

Authority emails reveal most of the equipment that was installed was able to be removed and reused in alternative scheme locations, with the exception of the concrete plinths, reinforcement mesh and electrical cabling.

Costs of those including labour is put at £500 which the authority is to recover from the Government funding.

The council is now looking for alternative sites within Cramlington but the emails reveal that discussions are ongoing about the use of the car park site as a charging point.

County councillor for Cramlington North Wayne Daley said: “The cost of installing and removing the electric points is around £53,000 and it is unbelievable that the council could be so negligent in understanding its own rules when selling its own property.

“This work should never have been started when the council were clearly selling the old library site and car park.

“There are plenty of other locations in Cramlington which would have been perfect and would have allowed people to charge their cars whilst shopping in Manor Walks.

“Now we have the second biggest town in Northumberland being denied electric charging points because the council failed to make sure it was placing them where they could be used - and even worse local people are being forced to foot the £53,000 bill.”

He added: “This must be the biggest electric bill in history and the people of Cramlington are being forced to pay it.”

A council spokeswoman said: “There is a requirement for an electric charging point in Cramlington and we are working with the potential purchaser of the site to ensure there is no abortive work. Expenditure to date is negligible - less than £500.”

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer