Councillors in a Somerset town have sent objections to the planning authority over proposals by Asda to build an automated petrol station outside its Highbridge store.
Members of the Burnham-on-sea and Highbridge Town Council’s Planning Applications Committee expressed safety concerns about extra traffic at the site and the impact on residents living nearby.
Asda has applied for permission to build a four-pump automated petrol station in the parking area at the entry to store.
Cllr Helen Groves told the meeting: “I fully support the principle of more competition to push down prices, but this is not the right location for a new petrol station.
“Flows of traffic are already very high at the entrance to the store during peak times and the petrol station would only make those problems worse. I feel this is over-development of the site. I would support it in a safer location.”
Cllr Paul Young said: “It’s a good idea from a retail point of view. Everyone wants cut-price fuel in the area, but more consultation is needed on the highways issues.”
Town clerk Denise Emery said six letters objecting to the plan has been sent in by members of the public with two in support.
“Some residents are keen to see a petrol station here on competition grounds, but others are concerned that granting this application will set a precedent and enable Burnham’s Tesco store to submit an application of its own,” she said.
Sedgemoor District Council will make a final decision on whether the scheme goes ahead later in the summer.
Asda said the station would be unmanned most of the time, although it would have a ‘forecourt greeter’ 65 hours a week to help customers at busier trading times.
It added: “The pumps will be fully automated and self-service operated by means of customer credit card authorisation only; there will be no cash sales.
“This method of forecourt operation is significantly more efficient than ‘pay at kiosk’ and ‘drive to pay’ stations with much reduced standing time on the forecourt, consequently accommodating higher throughput with minimal queuing. The station would have four dual-sided dispensers, on four islands set out in a 2 x 2 domino layout, with fuel hose delivery to both sides of the dispenser, providing eight filling positions.”
To reduce the noise impact to local residents, opening hours would be restricted to 7am-10pm Monday to Saturday and 10am-4pm on Sundays.