Top 50 Indie Rontec has weighed in to a row over plans for a new forecourt development in the village of Cleeve in Somerset. Rontec operates an Esso forecourt on the outskirts of Congresbury, which is just up the road from Cleeve.

Former Forecourt Trader of the Year winner Touts Ltd has submitted plans to demolish the former Lord Nelson pub in Cleeve and build a complex comprising a convenience store, petrol station, lounge bar/restaurant, hair and beauty salon and offices – a plan Touts believes would deliver ‘much-needed facilities to locals and road users’. The plans state that the forecourt and shop would operate on a 24/7 basis; the lounge bar during the daytime and evening; and the hair and beauty salon during typical daytime trading hours.

North Somerset Council has received dozens of objections to Touts’ plans from locals, many of whom described the Lord Nelson pub as an ‘iconic’ landmark which should not be pulled down.

Rontec joined the objectors with a letter from property projects manager Rupert Ainsworth. In the letter, Ainsworth stated: “The Lord Nelson is a building readily identifiable with Cleeve and has been at the heart of village identity and sense of belonging for over 80 years; the demolition of the building would have a profoundly negative impact on the street scene and setting of Cleeve; the applicant has failed to clearly and convincingly demonstrate that the existing building cannot be preserved and altered to facilitate a range of the public benefits outlined in their current proposal.”

The letter continued: “The proposed use of the petrol station on a 24-hour basis has the potential to cause both light and noise nuisances to residential properties by virtue of cars using the facility, tankers delivering at night and light from the under canopy of the forecourt.”

Touts’ plans have been with North Somerset Council for several months now. Alicia Fox, clerk at Cleeve Parish Council, told Forecourt Trader that she thought a decision was unlikely to be made before October or even November.