A CAR park has become the first in Durham to introduce six electric vehicle charging points for the general public, with complimentary power available for the first two hours.

They are located on level one of the Prince Bishops Shopping Centre Car Park and have been installed as part of £1 million refurbishment.

They will enable up to six electric vehicle parkers at a time to charge their cars during their visits to Durham city centre.

The first two hours of electric charging are provided free of charge, alongside the car park’s regular parking fee.

Richard Toynbee, centre manager of Prince Bishops Shopping Centre, said: “We hope that by introducing these six new electric vehicle charging points to the centre of the city, electric vehicle owners might feel more confident about using their electric cars to travel into the city centre, and that other motorists might also be emboldened to invest in a plug-in hybrid or electric motor vehicle too.

“We care passionately about the environment and lessening pollution levels on our roads, and are keen to encourage Durham residents to become greener and more energy efficient.

“So far, the feedback from customers about the charging facility has been really positive, and it looks set to be a very popular service.”

The charging points are registered with Pod Point, one of the most used public electric vehicle networks in the UK.

To operate them, drivers are invited to download the Pod Point app, register their details on the system, select their desired charging point location as Prince Bishops Shopping Centre Car Park, and charge.

Any excess hours of charging required over two hours can be paid for via the app.

When customers have charged their cars and are ready to leave they can pay for parking at the nearest pay station, unplug their vehicle, and drive to the exit as usual.

Joo-Lee Stock, founder of Lindy Jazz and driver of a Nissan Leaf, used the new facility for the first time this week.

She said: “It’s wonderful that Prince Bishops have introduced these new charging points.

“It has always been tricky trying to work out where to recharge my car in Durham, so it’s great that I never need to worry any more.

“There’s nowhere else I can think of locally which has six charging points which are so accessible.

“I’m very grateful to Prince Bishops for choosing to accommodate electric vehicles in this way.

“The new system is really easy to use, and I will be using the charging points on a regular basis from now on.”

Prince Bishops Shopping Centre car park is open seven days a week.

The award-winning car park has recently undergone a full makeover, providing shoppers and visitors with a modern, secure and convenient car parking facility.

The electric vehicle charging facility is open now.