Published: October 10, 2013
Angry residents lobby council in fight over Asda petrol station plans

Concerned residents who are fighting Asda's plans to build a new petrol station at its Highbridge store last night won the backing of town councillors.

The residents, pictured, outlined a number of concerns about the scheme at Wednesday's meeting of the Town Council's Planning Applications Committee where councillors voted to raise an objection against the plans.

Burnham-On-Sea.com first reported here last month that Asda had changed its scheme for an eight-pump petrol station outside its Caxton Road store, reversing the proposed entrance and exit locations to address road safety concerns.

However, nearby residents are unimpressed. Racheal Loud said: "I and other residents are very concerned about these proposals which would see a petrol station built just a few steps outside our front doors."

"The petrol station would create pollution, leading to health problems for children, cause a big increase in traffic at an already busy junction. It is a ludicrous plan that none of us want."

Cllr Helen Groves said: "I agree with the residents - the petrol station would be far too close to homes on the entrance road to the store. It was never planned when the store was built and many of the residents would not be living there now if they'd known this could be built so close by."

She added that pedestrian access to the store and increased traffic flows are a "big safety concern".

But Cllr Paul Young spoke in favour of the plans, saying: "I don't think Asda's petrol station would be any closer to homes than other stations in our area - look how close residents are next to the Esso station in Burnham's Oxford Street."

He added: "No-one has anything to worry about from a safety perspective - petrol stations are exceedingly safe nowadays and have to follow strict safety rules. I think many customers will benefit from the station's cheap petrol and I can't see any problems with it."

But Cllr Peter Burridge-Clayton told the meeting: "I'm concerned about the added noise for residents, the extra volume of traffic and light pollution for nearby properties."

Another resident, Sue Slow, spoke about the health issues of the station. "This petrol station would be built right next to a social housing development with many children. There will be a high number of cases of asthma in the years to come if this gets built."

Cllr Pat Burge also gave a 'thumbs-down' to the scheme, explaining: "It's far too close to nearby houses and would cause a big increase in traffic."

Councillors agreed to lodge an objection against the scheme and they have asked Sedgemoor District Council to visit the site before any decision is made on the scheme.

Many users of Burnham-On-Sea.com's discussion forums and followers of our Facebook page have said they are in favour of the scheme.

The original plans attracted a number of objections earlier this year, as reported here, prompting the scheme to be subsequently withdrawn by Asda.

Sedgemoor District Council's planning department has begun its consultation on the new scheme and is welcoming feedback from residents until October 25th.

Pictured: Top, the concerned residents Racheal Loud, Leanne Shutt, Sue Slow and Jim Slow at Wednesday's council meeting


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