Row over petrol stations 24-hour opening planBy Julie Spencer
September 19, 2012
Neighbours are furious that a petrol station is breaking its planning conditions by opening 24 hours a day.
Protesters claim Total in Finchampstead Road, Wokingham has put up a banner proclaiming it is open all day and night, although its planning permission stipulates it must close at 10pm on weekdays and 9pm on Sundays and bank holidays.
The new owners put in an application for 24-hour opening to Wokingham Borough Council on Monday, September 3 saying they need to be on site to counter theft and vandalism. But neighbours claim the pumps and shop are already operating all night.
Ujjwal Dey has logged an objection with the council, stating that customers in cars and motorbikes and forecourt lights are already disturbing him and his wife.
He said all-night sales were attracting noisy customers who were leaving litter everywhere.
Mr Ujjwal said: “They are talking in loud voices, eating sandwiches and chucking their garbage around the area.
“What does grate a bit is that the company has said in its application that there are no residential properties affected but that is not correct.
“There is not really a necessity for a 24-hour gas station in our corner of Wokingham.
“Anybody who stands in this street after 8.30pm will struggle to see a passing car as it is a residential area.
“It is not as if it was a motorway or a major thoroughfare.
“I suspect they will not make their money by selling petrol.”
Leaflets have gone up on trees in Finchampstead Road criticising the application which is set to be decided in early- to mid-November.
In its application to the council, Rontec Service Stations Ltd states the petrol station is operating outside approved opening hours and asks consent for 24-hour opening which it says ‘will cause minimal disturbance to the surrounding properties which are mainly commercial’.
Marcia Head, development management team leader at Wokingham Borough Council, said it was not an offence for people or businesses to do something without planning permission and she was glad the business was seeking planning permission.
She said: “It is irrelevant the fact that they are already doing it.
“It is not a criminal offence. The planning system is not here to punish people.
“Planning does not take into account demand but the impact on residents.”
The owners of Total, Finchampstead Road, were unavailable for comment.