Lidl plan: loss of petrol station a 'disaster' for Honiton

PUBLISHED: 12:40 08 October 2008 | UPDATED: 22:26 15 June 2010

THE loss of Heathpark Service Station would be a disaster for Honiton, leaving the town with possibly just one petrol station.

THE loss of Heathpark Service Station would be a disaster for Honiton, leaving the town with possibly just one petrol station.

That's what town councillors agreed last night after considering an application for the demolition of the BP garage and Budgens convenience store.

Lidl UK is seeking to flatten the site before building a new food store.

Councillor Michael Teare, chairman of Honiton Town Council's planning committee, told a meeting: "The car park would be to the front, with the store to the rear."

Lidl aims to provide 85 parking spaces and cash towards improvements at Turks Head.

Former town councillor Liz Tirard contacted the council ahead of the meeting - to point out Tesco does not intend to keep a petrol station in Honiton, if it is granted permission to relocate to Ottery Moor Lane.

Councillors agreed Heathpark Service Station is the petrol station of choice for lorry drivers, because of its easy access, and that traffic congestion would be made worse if all motorists were forced to use the Jet petrol station at Honiton Garage.

Petrol prices in Honiton could also soar - if there was no competition.

Councillor Martin McGuire said a Lidl store would be "a good move from the point of view of competition and freedom of choice", but he felt the loss of the petrol station made the plan a non-starter.

"The loss of that petrol station would be astronomical. It is on a very, very busy artery in the town."

Former mayor Councillor Vernon Whitlock said: "We've raised issues in the past about design at gateways into and out of the town.

"I can't see how this design fits in with the local environment, and there is no pedestrian access."

Councillor Roy Coombs said: "I am very sorry to see the petrol station go.

"There is a question mark over Tesco. Tesco has made it clear it is not going to have a petrol station in Ottery Moor Lane.

"There could be a tremendous demand for petrol at Honiton Garage.

"Getting in and out of there will throw these plans out of kilter - unless BP opens somewhere else in the town."

Councillors expressed concerns about highways issues and the ability of the highways Agency to deliver improvements.

They also complained that proposed traffic lights were "not the same as delivering a traffic survey of the town".

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