Rival in bid to stop new £2 million garage opening in Soham

Proposed BP garage complex for Soham

Proposed BP garage complex for Soham - Credit: Archant

Agents acting for entrepreneur Jonathan James dismissed objections from a rival petrol station to their £2million BP garage and M&S store in Soham as being “an anti-competition objection from a competing operator”.

New BP garage complex for Soham

New BP garage complex for Soham - Credit: Archant

JMS Planning and Development says the objection by Lupos Ltd – who run Downfield Service Station in Fordham Road- on the grounds it is in the open countryside doesn’t acknowledge their own site is outside the development envelope of Soham.

Agent Julian Sutton says a “commentary on ‘need’ for the petrol filling station” ignores the fact BP has agreed a lease for the new petrol station at The Shades “and a desire to be represented at this location”.

Mr Sutton says the argument by Lupos that it would impact on their own business “is unacceptable. Downfield Service Station is not within a town centre location nor is an allocated site within an up to date development plan.

“Therefore this use is not protected by planning policy”.

New BP garage complex for Soham

New BP garage complex for Soham - Credit: Archant

Mr Sutton says another filling station to the north of Soham will provide additional choice “and is supported by the planning system which seeks to foster competition and choice”.

The town council has welcomed it in principle – but with the request for certain conditions- although its planning committee is due to discuss it again next week.

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Several residents have voiced concerns ahead of its determination by East Cambridgeshire District Council.

One resident has listed 10 petrol stations within a 10 mile radius to refute the idea it is “much needed”.

The objector also says Soham has no need for “additional amenity retail and actually there is a strong case for the possibility that a new big brand store would actually damage the retail prospects of the existing central sites”.

Another resident raised concern about flooding, pointing out neighbours have recently had to have Anglian Water remove raw sewerage due to “inadequate draining system in place at the Shade”.

Other comments include the petrol station being too near a primary school and possible noise and light pollution.

“Cancer, childhood leukaemia and respiratory problems have been proven to be caused by fuel,” says another objector.

District councillor Carol Sennitt is fearful the application – which she supports- is fearful the planners might reject it; she wants it fully debated “as I believe a wider consideration would be more appropriate”.

Mr James, through his James Construction and Developments Ltd company, has submitted a planning application to build the petrol station on land next to the A142 roundabout on The Shade at Soham.

He said: “The proposed 1.5 acre development will comprise of a retail store with 190 square metres of sales space, five pump islands, two jet washes and an automated car wash.”

He said the site will be operated by BP and will include M&S Simply Food & a Wild Bean Café “plus all the products you’d expect to find in a well stocked convenience store”.

Mr James believes a petrol station and shop “is much needed in the north of Soham and brings to life the aspirations of the Soham Vision”.