Garage opening hours restricted after neighbours complaintsBy Jon Nurse
November 26, 2012
A petrol station has seen its opening hours capped after dozens of objections from angry neighbours.
The Esso in Finchampstead Road has been open 24 hours a day since July, but will now cut back to its permitted hours after a planning application was refused.
Furious neighbours sent 25 letters of objection to the proposal to allow the petrol station to open all hours.
Richard Head, 48, of Finchampstead Road, said: “I’m very relieved and pleased. It’s got quite a community response so these hours are clearly not welcome here. When you count the houses that could be impacted it’s quite a high percentage.
“It [the refusal] shows the objections made the difference.”
The application for 24-hour opening had claimed the owners of the business needed to be on site to counter theft and vandalism.
The garage, which was run by Total until last month, must now return to its permitted opening hours of 7am to 10pm Monday to Saturday, and 9am to 9pm on Sundays, or appeal the decision.
Protester Ujjwal Dey said: “It looks like the council has listened to the response of the people and it’s good that they’ve acted in an informed manner. It puts faith in the system of governance in our town.”
Mr Head was disappointed so many months had passed before the garage’s planning conditions were enforced.
“That’s five months that they’ve got away with it,” he said.
“I think there wasn’t really a need for it. We have three 24-hour petrol stations within two-and-a-half miles.
“The main thing has been the noise. At night there is noise at antisocial hours with walk-in customers or car alarms going off.
“You also get minicab drivers chatting – it carries far on a still night. There’s also the widespread low level light that comes through the windows.”
The refusal notice from Wokingham Borough Council stated the decision had been made “in the absence of a noise impact assessment and mitigation measures to demonstrate the night time operation of the forecourt and shop would not have a material impact upon neighbouring and nearby residential amenities”.
The notice ruled 24-hour opening would affect nearby residents’ quality of life after identifying noise, disturbance and antisocial behaviour impacts.
The owners of the petrol station were unavailable for comment.