Surprise at service station refusal

Stuart Dancer on the site of the service station he planned on the A43 which has been refused permission.'110914M-B413
Stuart Dancer on the site of the service station he planned on the A43 which has been refused permission.'110914M-B413

LANDOWNERS in Brackley are considering their options after the surprise decision to oppose plans for a service station which could have created up to 50 jobs in Brackley.

At this month’s South Northants Council planning meeting, members said they did not agree with the principle of building a service station, hotel and restaurant on the A43 between Buckingham Road and the Tesco roundabout.

The reasons for refusal were that contrary to planning policy the land was outside the confines of the town and constituted development of open countryside, that it would be detrimental to the character of surrounding countryside, that it would set a precedent for further development outside the town, and the applicants had not investigated alternative locations inside town.

The refusal notice also cited an absence of information relating to environmental issues such as flooding, bio-diversity and pollution control.

The site has been occupied by former Brackley Town councillor Stuart Dancer and his family for 18 years and he purchased the land a number of years ago with his brother-in-law Roger Allen. They drew up the plans after searching for a use for the 4.5 acre plot opposite the industrial estate and discovered the Highways Authority had designated the A43 as having a ‘substandard’ provision of service stations.

Mr Dancer said everyone he has spoken to is fed up with queuing at Brackley petrol stations and was surprised at the refusal. He said: “Everyone is surprised. You can’t build these places in a town centre, and it will help queues at filling pumps. Everyone wins, more competition will give local people better prices, motorists are better served, there will be jobs for young people and some of the those staying at the hotel will visit the town to have look around.”

Mr Dancer said SNC refused to accept a 207 page environmental report which would have addressed the environmental issues because it arrived too late. The pair are now considering whether to appeal, resubmit the plans or sell the land.

Neil Jacobs, vice chairman of Brackley Means Business could not understand why it was thought a ring road hotel would detract from the town centre. He said: “People would come into Brackley rather than sit in their hotel room. Why pay hotel bar prices when you can go to a nice pub?”

A spokesman for SNC said it was impossible to say if the environmental report countered the reasons for refusal as it arrived after the deadline and did not leave enough time for a review by the environmental agencies which had objected to the proposal.