A Kent forecourt owner has just completed a £1.3m investment in his business, despite BP plans to build a service station and drive-thru McDonald’s just 50m from his site.

Simon Privett, who runs Tollgate Service Station, just off the A2 at Gravesend, had been a BP dealer since 1999, but after BP had applied for planning permission for the rival scheme, he moved to Shell and spent £130,000 on the re-brand, installing new pumps, lines and re-lining tanks.

He twice went to court to get planning permission for the BP scheme overturned, but with BP preparing a third planning application for its scheme, in November 2016 Simon decided to carry out a major redevelopment of his site. It has involved rebuilding and extending his Spar and Subway stores part by part, so they have been able to keep trading throughout the work; a new canopy; adding a new franchise Favourite Chicken and an additional Costa Coffee machine, so the site now has three. The extended Spar store has been completely refitted inside, and includes a big chilled and frozen range.