Wednesday 21 February 2024
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New filling station and drive-thru in Rushcliffe gets green light

Council planners have backed plans for a new service station in Rushcliffe despite objections from residents.

Applicant Venari Land Ltd asked Rushcliffe Borough Council to build a petrol station and drive-thru at the A46/A606 Melton Road roundabout, in Hickling.

The plans include electric vehicle (EV) charging bays, HGV fuelling facilities, standard car fuel facilities, parking and a drive-thru.

A new access road from the A606 will also be built to serve the site, which was previously agricultural land but will now be run by Welcome Break Services.

Officers at the Conservative-led council recommended the development for approval at the planning committee meeting on Thursday (August 10).

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But the meeting heard significant objection was received from local residents and major societies about the impact of the service station.

Hundreds of objections were submitted to the authority, including from the Nottingham Astronomy Society which is based nearby.

The objection said: “The proposal will detrimentally impact upon the sky quality as viewed from the observatory.”

And Cllr Tina Combellack (Con), the local ward councillor, also objected to the plans and raised concerns about flooding, biodiversity and the proximity to nearby homes.

Speaking before the meeting, she said there was “no demonstrable need for the facility” and added fuel is already available nine miles on either side of Widmerpool island.

She added: “The proposal will result in extreme light pollution, turning dark rural skies into a sea of commercial activity; the objection from the astronomical society should be noted and given due weight.”

Five neighbouring parish councils also objected to the plans, stating the countryside was an “inappropriate” place for the development.

In total, 170 residents responded to the plans, 155 of which were objections.

Supporting comments included suggesting the new service station would “make all the difference” for people needing fuel.

They added it would have a “minimal impact” on residents.

And council planners said they did not believe the plans would affect the “distinctiveness” of the area.

They said the plans bring “notable benefits” in terms of biodiversity, the economy and through new facilities.

The applicant, which spoke at length in the meeting to address concerns, says the new, 24-hour new service station will create 65 jobs.

Councillors on the committee were split on the decision and the plans were ultimately approved after a more than 90-minute debate.

Concerns raised by the committee included potential flooding, a lack of environmental sustainability and the long-term management of the site.

But a spokesperson for the council’s planning department said: “In terms of sustainability, the site is on the road network and its location is sustainable.”

The committee approved the plans by seven votes to four and opted to put additional conditions onto the plans for long-term maintenance of flooding.

Calls were also made for a community liaison group to be set up to alleviate residents’ concerns but this was not added into planning conditions.

Cllr Richard Butler (Con), the committee chairman, said: “We’ve had a good discussion on this and quite rightly so.

“There’s been a lot of comments and concerns raised, and we’ve debated the plusses and minuses.

“A decision has been taken and permission is granted along with the additional conditions and recommendations.”

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