Developers appealed for support to build a fuel station on Billingshurst’s bypass last night as parish councillors weighed the pros and cons.
Preliminary plans for a 12-pump garage at Platts Roundabout include a Subway, a Budgens roughly the size of Tesco Express, a Costa Coffee facility, four pumps for HGVs and a car valeting service.
Residents possible highlighted traffic and litter issues at the site opposite Jubilee Fields, although many were in favour on principle.
Councillor Gary Commins said: “There are garages to the north and south of the village but there are no petrol stations between Buck Barn and Midhurst on the A272.
“The road desperately needs one, it needs a rest area as well.”
He said his main gripe would be litter from the fast food outlet, although the shop would give residents more choice in the village.
Road safety issues were also raised about people turning right illegally out of Jubilee Fields opposite, with a request to move the entrance to the petrol station further away from the roundabout to avoid people cutting straight across.
Cllr Lesley Wilding said that a Subway would be ‘inundated’ with Weald Sixth Form students driving in for a takeaway between lessons, while other councillor voiced frustration that shops didn’t move into the already vacant units in the village centre.
The meeting also heard that although a petrol station had been part of original plans for the bypass, the land for the site south of the A272 was classed as countryside and needed strong community support to pass planning policy.
Agent for the developer Gary Morris said: “To put it bluntly, we really need your support, we need support from community and yourselves, if you believe it to be a good idea we need Horsham District Council to hear that from you, from the people of Billingshurst.
“That’s going to carry the biggest amount of weight, the weight that we need to get us the over the line.”
Curtin & Co representative David Scane told the meeting 90 people of 103 surveyed by the firm were in favour of the idea but further consultation was planned.
A full planning application would then follow in around three months’ time.
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