David and Goliath filling station row
Opponents to Morrisons’ new filling station plan include Kishor Patel, of Houghton Trading, which runs a Nisa Local chain.
Mr Patel feels Morrisons’ move to win planning permission to build a new petrol station in Houghton shows “total disregard” for independent businesses.
The application seeks permission to demolish Morrisons’ existing small Houghton store and build a petrol station, with sales kiosk, car wash facility and parking.
A design and access statement says the current store will become redundant once the big new Morrisons in the town is completed.
In a letter of objection to planners, Mr Patel writes that the filling station proposal should be rejected “in the interest of preserving a balance and variety of businesses, large, medium and small independents”.
He points out that the town’s two existing filling stations provide “a great service and fuel at competitive market prices”.
And he feels that a third petrol station which shut down was “a living example” that there had been one too many filling stations in the town.
Mr Patel asks: “What is next on Morrisons’ shopping list – pharmacy, optician, dental surgery, estate agency, bank?”
A Morrisons spokesperson said: “During the planning process, the local authority will carefully assess both the need for and the impact of the proposed filling station.
“Wherever we trade there is bound to be competition with other businesses but we think this is a good thing for the consumer.
“The station will be an integral part of the new store’s full offering and will give customers a wider choice of where they fill up their tanks.”
> Check out the application, CB/12/02909/FULL, and comment online at www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk. Public consultation ends on September 16.
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