Coquet Valley set to get filling station back under plans to create new store and fuel stop serving rural Northumberland communities

A community in rural Northumberland is set to get a petrol station back.

Wednesday, 10th February 2021, 12:02 pm
Updated Wednesday, 10th February 2021, 12:03 pm

Plans to redevelop the West End Garage site in Thropton have received the green light from Northumberland County Council.

James Hall & Co, who operate as a primary wholesaler to Spar retailers, plan to demolish the garage and build a convenience store and petrol filling station.

The village – and wider Coquet Valley – has been without a fuel garage since W & J Smith closed in 2017.

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The proposed redevelopment site in Thropton.

The nearest are in Alnwick or Powburn, both 13 miles from Thropton.

Cllr Steven Bridgett, local county councillor, said: "I am very pleased that planning approval has been granted for the new Spar convenience store and petrol station in Thropton.

“There is no petrol station in the Coquet Valley and the nearest are at Powburn or Alnwick, so the new site will benefit both residents and visitors.

“The store will also provide 15 part-time and 15 full-time jobs for local residents, so this is great news for our local economy.

“I would like to thank James Hall & Co for working with us and taking account of local input, designing a scheme that is not out of character for what already exists in our area and incorporating other services that will also benefit local residents, such as toilet facilities, an ATM machine and electric vehicle charging points.

“I look forward to work commencing on-site in the spring and the store opening later in the year.”

The applicants say the scheme takes account of a trend towards the use of discount food stores and alongside this an increase in the use of local convenience stores.

A planning report on behalf of the applicant stated: ‘There are currently no convenience facilities within Thropton and the provision of the convenience store along with a petrol filling station will serve a local need as well as the needs of passing motorists.

‘There are also no petrol filling stations within the surrounding area and the provision of a petrol station in the village will therefore also reduce the need for residents to travel for fuel as well as convenience goods.’

The application attracted 30 letters of support, as well as the backing of Thropton Parish Council.

There were also five objections raising concerns about residential amenity and size and location of the proposed shop in such close proximity to neighbouring properties.

Initial concerns about the risk to groundwater which prompted objections from the Environment Agency and lead flood authority were later withdrawn after further details of the underground fuel storage system were submitted.

The scheme was approved by planning officers under delegated powers.

Planning officer Jon Sharp reported: ‘The visual impact from the public domain would be improved through the replacement of the old buildings (and the paraphernalia associated with a car repair garage) and the development would be seen as a modest petrol filling station and convenience store in an edge of village setting.

‘The applicant has worked with the authority through pre-application and application stages to reach a proposed design that is in keeping with its surrounding in terms of both materials and setting and the scale is appropriate in this context.’

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