Petition adds fuel to bid to stop store’s petrol station

Shailesh Ghondia with his petition form against the planning application for a Morrisons petrol station opposite his
Shailesh Ghondia with his petition form against the planning application for a Morrisons petrol station opposite his

A businessman from Houghton Regis has started a petition against Morrisons’ plan for a new petrol station – on land opposite his service station.

Shailesh Ghondia is a partner at the Georgina Service Station in the High Street. His petition, which he started on June 5, already has more than 1,600 signatures.

The garage employs a dozen people and has a petrol station, Subway, car wash, sales kiosk and workshop. The supermarket giant’s planning application is for a fuelling station, kiosk and car wash.

Mr Ghondia said: “Morrisons applied for planning permission for the same thing on the same site in 2012, but it didn’t go ahead. Now they are trying again and we are in the same position we were in then. It will have a detrimental effect on our business.”

The supermarket owns the land and residents have suggested what they would like to see there. Teresa Howe, who uses the petrol station at Georgina, said: “I have signed the petition against a petrol station going there because it is not needed. I think Morrisons should open a store there and only sell clothes and gifts. That would benefit the community – a petrol station would not.”

A spokesperson for Central Beds Council, said: “This application is currently in the consultation period, which means that anyone who wishes to comment on it can do so via our website. The full details of the application, including any consultation responses, will be considered when the application is determined. The consultation period closes on July 3.”

Mr Ghondia added: “There is no room for both of us. We have been here since 1991 and we have seen the decline in the use of fuelling stations in the area. We will present the petition to the planning authority.

“Look at the Co-op that closed this month. If Morrisons get their way other businesses in the town will also be forced to close down.

Cllr Susan Goodchild said: “I am obviously very concerned that a well-established business would be at threat.”

The application has been sent to Houghton Regis Town Council for comment and will be considered at the next planning meeting on June 30.

Morrisons said: “Our customers expect to be able to buy petrol as part of their weekly shop. We believe that this new petrol station will be a welcome addition to the existing Morrisons store offer. We look forward to working closely with the council to progress this planning application.”