On Wednesday, the South Planning Committee gave the final approval for the petrol filling station and convenience store on Bromfield Road. Committee members voted unanimously to allow the fuel tanks to be sited below ground.
Work on clearing the site prior to construction is already underway, so we can expect it to open next spring. The filling station has permission to serve fuel 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The store hours will be limited to 6am to midnight.
I have said that while I support the plans for a new petrol filling station and store, I cannot countenance having fuel tanks sunk into the water table in an environmentally sensitive area. I still think the environment agency got it wrong when it decided to withdraw its objection to this. Its rulebook is clear. Tanks should only be below ground in locations like this if there is no alternative. There is an alternative, the above ground tanks already approved by the planning committee.
I argued this at the planning meeting but it did not sway other councillors. One argued that the extra parking spaces created would improve the viability of the filling station and convenience store. Others thought the chances of a leak are very, very low. Viv Parry was not convinced by this but in the end all committee members voted for the scheme. (I cannot vote on applications in my own ward.)
I can’t see any reason for the store not being open 24 hours. If the filling station is open, you should be able to buy a box of cornflakes for breakfast and a pint of milk to go with them.
The sale of booze must be restricted to 6am to 11pm to prevent sozzled revellers from town pubs staggering down Coronation Avenue for a top up binge in the early hours. That’s a licencing, not a planning matter.
The arguments over this development are over.
I know most of the town will welcome a second in-town petrol station (we have a third at Overton open for rather shorter hours). Operator Applegreen promises low prices and that will give the Co-op on Foldgate Lane a run for its money. It will hopefully bring an end to the peak period queues for fuel at the Co-op.
I haven’t seen any details of the convenience operation yet or which company will run the franchise on the café. All the indications are that this will be another national or international brand. It would be much better if the café was a local, independent operation. That would suit the character of Ludlow better than us getting yet another Costa Coffee or Subway. Applegreen should adopt Ludlow’s brand of independent operations rather than bring in the brands that can be found on any high street in the country.