By Kerry Ashdown, Local Democracy Reporter
A former Cannock petrol station site that has been boarded up for almost 20 years is set to be developed after plans for a new food store were given the green light.
Cannock Chase Council’s planning committee unanimously approved the application for the former Farm Garage Petrol Station on Hednesford Road on Wednesday (August 23) after a nearby resident said the site needed redeveloping.
He told councillors: “That site has been boarded up for as long as I can remember. I can remember it being a petrol station, but it’s been like that going on for 20 years.
“If I wanted to put up a six foot fence across my garden I’m pretty sure there would be restrictions – I don’t see why we should still be looking at these boards. Let’s try and make something happen instead of looking at boarding for another 20 years.
“If a company is prepared to put hundreds of thousands of pounds towards such a site I think you should support them. A shop would be great.”
Committee members visited the site of the proposed new food convenience store before making their decision on Wednesday. The application was called in for committee consideration by a councillor because of concerns about its location opposite a school and impact on highway safety.
In a written statement read out at Wednesday’s meeting county councillor Phil Hewitt said: “My concern is the level of traffic around that area. We have a huge primary school opposite, as well as a busy junction and traffic already – could the plans incorporate a crossing?”
Committee member Adrienne Fitzgerald called for a planning condition to add a pedestrian crossing. But councillors were told providing a crossing outside the development site was not the applicant’s responsibility and such a condition would be “challengeable”.
Peter Icke, who spoke in support of the application at the meeting, said it was anticipated that families with children at the nearby school would use the shop. And there had been no objections raised by the county’s highways authority.
He added: “The last use was around 2005 and it has since been boarded up and remains derelict, resulting in an unsightly appearance with concerns about antisocial behaviour. Redevelopment would bring the site back into use and create new jobs for residents.
“It’s an ideal location for serving the residents of Heath Hayes. It is accessible and parking will be controlled.”
Councillor Lisa Wilson, who represents Heath Hayes East and Wimblebury, said: “Residents are all in favour of it. It is an eyesore and if we have a shop it is going to be better aesthetically.”
Fellow committee member Val Jones said: “There is a similar development just past Longford Road, adjacent to a school. That seems to work quite well – I’m sure some of the school users use that car park and I don’t believe it has increased the problem of school parking.”
(Local Democracy Reporting Service)