A new petrol station and convenience store could soon be built in Tunstall, despite concerns raised by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
Plans for the site, on James Brindley Way, originally included a new drive-through restaurant but this part of the application was subsequently shelved.
Councillors at Stoke-on-Trent City Council approved the application on Wednesday, on the condition that it doesn’t get ‘called-in’ by the secretary of state, Michael Gove, following the concerns raised by HSE.
The HSE assessment identified that the petrol station is close to gas storage facilities operated by Air Liquide (UK) Ltd on the Newfield Industrial Estate.
Councillors heard that HSE was concerned that, in the event of a major incident, an emergency response could be difficult to co-ordinate as a result of members of the public using the petrol station.
The Kay Group – a family owned business based in Blackburn – will operate the site, and said the removal of the drive-through restaurant helped reduce the risks involved.
The company also highlighted that it has strict operating procedures in place to guard against the various dangers involved in running a petrol station.
The company already operates a number of fuel sites across the country.
Following the council’s approval of the plans, HSE will now be informed and will have 21 days to request the application be ‘called-in’.
Officers at the council said they wouldn’t go against the advice of HSE without “very careful consideration, and especially where this advice relates to matters of public safety.”
They added that there are a number of factors set out by the applicant that “should form part of the overall planning judgement.”
The plans will mean redevelopment of a prominent vacant site, which the council said would result in “positive economic benefits” for the area.
They received one objection, from Paul Kendrick of Sandiacre Avenue.
Kendrick said: “Residents, such as myself, are very much against this proposed use due to the traffic increase that this will bring to an already overly congested roundabout and side roads at this location.
He added: “Introducing yet another commercial use property on this location is a terrible idea without further traffic calming measures, which given its location is near impossible.”
Following revisions to initial proposals, Sandyford & Goldenhill Residents Association (SAGE) decided to back the new petrol station, however, saying it was ‘much needed’ in the area.
The group’s secretary Tom Simpson said: “As a residents association, we believe the Kay Group have put a lot of effort into trying to develop the location into a much needed petrol station in the Sandyford area, and suggest the planning department also support this revised application as well.”
Beacon House of Prayer said it had also held discussions with the Kay Group and it had been agreed for there to be a car park and prayer garden space within the site.