Forecourt Trader of the Year 2006 winner, Westbridge Motors, has sold its filling station and shop to Spar retailer Tates on a leasehold deal.

The 60-year-old Northampton-based family-owned company will continue running its ancillary businesses including a taxi and breakdown service.

Owner Nick Brocklehurst said it had been a big decision but he wanted more quality leisure time. He added that the move would give him more time to concentrate on the company’s other activities and would release some capital to develop its head office.

Westbridge Motors had been approached by a major multiple interested in buying the company before it agreed to a 20-year leasehold purchase with Tates - the retail arm of Spar wholesaler Blakemore, which has 205 shops but only one other forecourt. Westbridge Motors joined Spar last year and has since seen shop sales rise 28%. All 21 staff will remain at the site.

Geoff Hallam, managing director at Tates, said: "We’re interested in anything we think we can develop, and although forecourts are a new area for us we see it as a good area of opportunity." It is now looking for other forecourt sites in the North Wales and central England areas.