A VILLAGE which was one of the first in the country to have its own electric car has decided to sell the community vehicle less than a year after its launch.

Ashton Hayes, which is aiming to become England’s first carbon neutral village, could not gain enough interest in the eco-friendly Nissan Leaf to make the project financially sustainable.

A membership of about 20 villagers, who were willing to pay a small hourly rate to drive the vehicle on a journey of up to 100 miles, was not enough to cover the annual insurance for community use.

Having debated whether to offload the car over the last few months, resident Garry Charnock – co-chair of the Ashton Hayes Going Carbon Neutral project set up in 2006 – said it was agreed at the parish council meeting on Monday night that they would press ahead with the sale.

He explained: “The truth is people take a while to change. When you live in a place like Ashton Hayes you’re geared up to travel on your own.

“You need a more dense place like Chester. It’s too early for a village, a city would be better.

“People were also concerned about the technology, it’s quite complicated to use.

“We’re not despondent though, there’s a lot of interest in the vehicle.

“We’ve had a few communities interested in it and car hire companies.

“We’ll sell it and reinvest in more solar panels, or maybe get a more community-type vehicle like a minibus to take people to the railway station or Chester and back.”

The electric car was officially launched in the village in July last year.

The vehicle’s arrival came after a £200,000 grant from the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

This not only paid for the cost of the car but also funded a sports pavilion.

Despite the decision to sell, Mr Charnock has not ruled out the possibility of having an electric car again.

“It’s something we’d look at again in the future,” he said. “It was an experiment the government asked us to do anyway.”

If you’re interested in buying the vehicle visit www.goingcarbonneutral.co.uk/contact-us.