The forecourts offer new opportunities for architects; there are no concerns around petrol spillage so the ground doesn't have to be sealed by concrete , while the absence of underground tanks means tree routes aren't a hazard.

Air pollution, primarily caused by vehicles, is said to contribute to 1,200 deaths a year in Greater Manchester - and electric vehicles, as well as greater use of bikes, walking and public transport are seen as the remedy.

Electric vehicles (EVs) emit fewer greenhouse gases and air pollutants than petrol or diesel cars, a calculation which takes into account the manufacturing process.

If the UK is to meet its 2050 target of 'net zero' - a balance between the amount of greenhouse gas emissions produced and the amount removed from the atmosphere - then by 2035, every single new vehicle sold should be electric, according to the Climate Change Committee.

Greater Manchester has a long way to go to compete with the likes of Amsterdam and Oslo, which are aiming for total zero emissions transport systems by 2025 and 2030 respectively.

Amsterdam has more than 17,000 electric car drivers among its population of 821,000, with more than 1,100 charging points. In Greater Manchester, meanwhile, there are estimated to be just 5,000 electric vehicles among a population of 2.8m, with around 360 charging points.

However, the introduction of Clean Air Zones next year - which will see drivers of vans, buses, coaches, cabs and lorries charged for failing to meet emission standards - is predicted to push forward a sea change, despite criticism from green campaigners that they don't go far enough.

Combined with the fuel crisis, growing pressure to move away from combustion engines, plus EV manufacturers working to make them more affordable, electric vehicle use is inevitably on the rise.

And Asif Ghafoor, CEO at Be.EV, whose firm already runs 140 charge-points across the conurbation, says Greater Manchester is actually ahead of the game when it comes to the UK.

"There's a clear strategy here, and the mayor has made a commitment to the roll-out. He's very supportive and the local authorities are very proactive in trying to push clean air and better transportation. There's that discussion happening," he told the Manchester Evening News.

The firm is also working with private workplaces, where tax incentives for individuals to buy electric, as well as new measures persuading firms to convert their company fleets, are leading to a growth in electric car use.

Mr Ghafoor, whose app-based charging firm already has more than 7,000 members signed up, says there is growth of around 900 members a month - proving a pressing need for more charge points.

He adds: "When humans moved from horses to motor vehicles we didn't put petrol stations in barns and now we are moving from combustion engine vehicles to electric we need to be building a green sustainable environment.

"Every region in Greater Manchester wants to be greener. What we want to have is a charging station which isn't another petrol forecourt of concrete and tarmac."

Key to their plan, says Mr Ghafoor, is making these hubs accessible across the conurbation, where around 40pc of the population don't have a driveway to charge their own car.