Plans to redevelop a Connah’s Quay petrol station which would have seen a ‘drive-through’ bakery built and up to 25 jobs created have been thrown out by a Planning Inspector appointed by the Welsh Government.
Euro Garage had applied to Flintshire County Council for planning permission to demolish the only petrol station in Connah’s Quay and redevelop the site with a new petrol station, convenience store and drive through bakery.
The Blackburn based service station operator appealed to the Planning Inspectorate after Flintshire Council planners failed to make decision on the application within the prescribed time.
In making his decision, Iwan Lloyd the Planning Inspector appointed by Welsh Ministers to decide the appeal said;
“Had the Council determined the application within the prescribed period it would have refused permission on the basis of harm to living conditions of nearby residents and harm to highway and pedestrian safety.”
The proposal would have seen a larger retail store including bakery with drive-through hatch being built, a drive-through road would adjoin the boundaries of a neighbouring office building and two residential properties on Dunbar Close returning around to the front of the new building and onto the forecourt.
According to Mr Lloyd the development would impact on the living conditions of Dunbar Close residents due to an increase of noise and disturbance. His report states:
“Vehicles on the drive through would be travelling very slowly around the building but would have to stop near the hatch window to receive and pay for their food and drink.
As to the nature of a drive-through some vehicles would leave their engine running and others may turn their engines-off and re-start afterwards.
Some vehicle engines turn-off when idling in a stopped position.
In my view, the nature and proximity of the proposal; and the removal of landscaping would have a significant different effect on the living conditions of occupiers of Nos. 5 and 7 Dunbar Close than the current situation.
Euro Garages claimed noise from a new drive through would be “undistinguishable from the background noise associated with the busy road, and the surrounding commercial uses, including that of the appeal premises which can operate on a 24-hour basis” and had offered to provide a suitable acoustic fence.
The Inspector also felt highway safety would be compromised by the proposed development as the “re-configuration of the flow of traffic to the site would make turning inwards towards the nearest pump to the entrance more difficult than the existing arrangement.”
Parking spaces at the redeveloped site would be located close to the entrance which would result in a reversing movement close to the entrance and to the petrol pump if a vehicle is parked at the pump.
The ‘in’ arrangement, said Mr Lloyd, “would not allow much space for vehicles to wait should all of the pumps be occupied and would lead to conflicts with drivers trying to reverse out of spaces 1 and 2.”
“In all, I do not regard the arrangement as satisfactory given the potential conflicts I have described, and would lead to harm to highway safety in relation to turning and manoeuvring.”
Connah’s Quay Golftyn ward councillor Andy Dunbobbin welcomed the Planning Inspectorate decision, he said:
“I’m pleased to learn that the Connah’s Quay Esso petrol station planning application has been dismissed by Welsh Government Planning Inspectorate. Prior to this decision being made I visited a number of neighbouring residents who had expressed their concerns over the application.
After listening and suggesting what action could be taken, I organised a site visit which included local residents and the Planning Officer who was dealing with this case. At the time views were exchanged and an alternative plan was accepted.
The alternative plan which, unlike the original plan, complied with planning regulations was put forward to Euro Garages who didn’t accept the recommendations from the planning officer, it consequently went to appeal, where they have now failed.”