A rapidly growing Southern Co-op franchise has acquired its third petrol filling station.

Devon-based commercial property agent Charles Darrow sold Ashbys Petrol Station on the A379, near Kingsbridge, in south Devon, on behalf of its owners who wished to focus on other business interests.

The Southern Co-op franchise, headed by Tony Start and Steve Wilkinson, operates 17 stores throughout the South and South West of England and this acquisition represents their third petrol station, having recently taken on a petrol filling station in Torquay.

Charles Darrow sold the business confidentially on behalf of Mark and Megan Ashby, who having operated the business for many years, will now concentrate on their outdoor leisure goods business.

Charles Darrow director Paul Heather said: “All petrol filling station sales that we handle generate a great deal of competitive interest and Ashby’s petrol station was no exception. This purchase will further strengthen the Southern Co-op franchise portfolio across the south west.

“They are always looking to increase their presence in the South West and this site proved the perfect purchase for them.

“We are delighted to work with Tony and Steve once again and I’m sure they will continue to increase their number of stores over the next few years.

“They prefer village, rural or estate stores over town centre high streets and this is another perfect location for them.”

The franchise commercial director Tony Start said: “Our ethos is to develop stores for the benefit of the local community and give them an appealing shopping experience without having to travel too far.

“We have a strong presence across the South West, and this will further strengthen our position in south Devon. The future is very exciting for Southern Co-op franchise stores and we hope to open further stores in the area soon.”

The business was sold off a guide price of £1.1m.