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The planning application for the new Hockenhull site shows the new features

Top 50 Indie Hockenhull Garages is working on a knockdown rebuild of a Leicester forecourt, one of four bought back from EG Group three years ago, with a vision to make it a ”new age destination forecourt”.

So says chief executive Peter Hockenhull, who wants the £1.25m project at BP Croft Hill to recreate the ”wow factor” achieved at his award-winning The Stage site, also in the East Midlands city, and the winner of the Forecourt Trader of the Year in 2020.

A planning application has been submitted for the new-look petrol station – outside the conurbation on the B4114 road to Coventry and benefiting from high traffic flow and plenty villages around it. Work could start by autumn on the site, originally purchased by Peter 25 years ago and sold to EG Group 11 years later. 

Under the plans the property will be expanded onto some unused land at the back of the property. In addition, there will be a larger glazed-fronted building housing a convenience store and a food court with seating for up to 40 and as many as three concessions.The number and brands are still to be decided upon.

Foodservice will help draw customers who are not just passing for fuel, says Peter, alongside three electric vehicle charging bays, two or three jet washes, parcel lockers, and a convenience store designed for top-up shopping and with an increased focus on fresh refrigerated food. Also the site, one of the company’s longest established, may feature solar panels on the main building and canopy.

“This is an exciting new venture on a site that I built many many years ago before I sold it to EG Group,” said Peter, who runs the business with his son. “The market has changed completely since then and we need to diversify into these new areas to become more of a destination.

“We’ve spent a lot of time doing full surveys to find out what facilities will work for that location. Investment today costs an awful lot more than yesterday, so caution has to be taken.”

One lesson Peter says he has learned is that the “market is leaning towards jet washes, rather than rollover”. Another is that AdBlue is worthy of being sold on the pump, as one of the company’s biggest growth areas.

Peter hopes the changes, which will include adding two extra stoarge tanks, will help increase fuel sales from 80,000 litres to 120,000 litres per week. And he says he might later give more space at the Leicester site to further EV chargepoints. The business currently operates three chargepoints.

“We will be working closely with BP on the site,” he added. “The jury is out where the market will go with fuel – it could be hydrogen, or a different form of unleaded and diesel – and so we have to hedge our bets.”

Last year the Leicester-based business, which operates eight sites and leases a further site to a third party, developed its Esso Westside forecourt at Peterborough with a large shop extension introducing foodservice as well as a three-bay jet wash centre.