A lack of petrol in town filling station fuels residents’ criticism

No fuel for sale at Alnwick Motorway Services Garage at Cawledge, Alnwick.
No fuel for sale at Alnwick Motorway Services Garage at Cawledge, Alnwick.

A lack of fuel over the past weeks at Alnwick’s newest petrol station has led to a spate of motorists contacting the Gazette to complain.

One of the issues is that no explanation has been offered as to why the petrol station, known as Alnwick Motorway Services, at Cawledge, has been empty.

The site is run by Northumberland Fuel Services Ltd, and this week director Paul Abbott told the Gazette that he did not wish to comment as various transition arrangements are in hand, but would offer an explanation next week.

The property is owned by Northumberland Estates, who built the site, but a spokeswoman explained that they are only the landlords and the site is leased by Mr Abbott, who is responsible for running the station.

A similar explanation came from BP, where a spokeswoman said that the petrol station was a dealer site and not run by the company.

But motorists are frustrated by the as-yet unexplained situation, with one asking ‘what’s the point in having a second petrol station in Alnwick if it doesn’t have any fuel?’

This is not the first time that the station at Cawledge has run out, with periodic fuel shortages since it opened in June.

There was also controversy when it opened as the new forecourt matched its prices to the Co-op-run Willowtree Services.

Hopes had been high that the development of the new station would end the Willowtree Services’ monopoly on the town’s petrol and diesel supply.

At the time, Mr Abbott said that the oil companies were ‘dictating’ the fuel prices and that the oil company’s delivery charges played a major role.

He also claimed that while supermarket fuel was cheaper, it was known in the industry to be of inferior quality to the big four – BP, Esso, Shell and Total.

But the Cawledge site is not the only one to rankle with motorists as there has long been criticism of the Co-op garage over its high prices.

Back in January, the Gazette won an admission from Co-op that it charges as much as 30p a gallon more than other stations in the county because of a lack of local competition.