Businessman in fuel station plan for town

PUBLISHED: 16:31 21 December 2006 | UPDATED: 13:42 04 May 2010

LEADING businessman Jonathan James is planning to buck the national trend and open a £1 million-plus petrol service station in Littleport. Despite stations across the country closing down, Mr James is investing in the town and creating 30 new jobs. In the

LEADING businessman Jonathan James is planning to buck the national trend and open a £1 million-plus petrol service station in Littleport.

Despite stations across the country closing down, Mr James is investing in the town and creating 30 new jobs.

In the past five years alone 5,000 service stations have gone bust and the country has fewer garages than in 1914.

Yet Mr James is confident that, following the success of his BP garage on Witchford Road, Ely, he can repeat his winning formula on land in Wisbech Road, Littleport.

He said: "This will offer the most up-to-date forecourt facilities in the country. Littleport desperately needs a modern service station.

"This is a unique situation and the only forecourt being built in the whole of the UK. Petrol stations are closing down all over the country. Our Ely forecourt was built as an oasis for the people of Ely and this will be the same for the people of Littleport."

Mr James's plans include a convenience store which will also serve hot food and salads to take away and a lorry park to prevent drivers using laybys overnight. There will also be about 20 parking spaces.

The petrol station will open from 6am to 11pm every day, and it is hoped 30 part-time jobs will be created.

Mr James and his wife Rebecca run two service stations in Chatteris, the BP garage in Ely which opened in 2002 and Budgens supermarket in Soham. The four sites employ a total of 106 workers.

In 2003 the couple beat 10,000 other service station owners across the country to take the title UK Forecourt Trader of the Year.

Mr James is also a director on the board of the Association of Convenience Stores, which has 32,000 members nation-wide.

He added: "This is a huge investment in Littleport. The town has grown phenomenally over the last few years and we get a sheer volume of people from Littleport coming into our site in Ely. Now we want to give them their own service station.

"We will make sure there is no impact on the local population.

"Every effort will be made to carry out landscaping and make sure people living nearby in Meadow Court are not disrupted."

On Monday night Mr James put his plans before Littleport Parish Council and intends to meet members again in January for feedback.

He hopes to lodge a planning application with East Cambridgeshire District Council in the new year and believes the project can be completed in 12 weeks and open for business in September.

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