An environmentally damaging gas station development that was adopted after it was found that it would create 106 jobs and attract a Marks & Spencers outlet to a market town was again supported despite the withdrawal of the high-end retailer and developers expecting dozens of fewer jobs.
The Hambleton District Council planning committee has approved revised plans for the construction of a gas station, drive-thru outlets, grocery store and truck fleet on farm fields off the coast of the A19 at the York Road junction after learning the project would represent a £ 7million investment in Thirsk.
The decision came just two days after the authority declared a climate
emergency, saying he would work to reduce emissions and support new low-carbon infrastructure in his region.
Council chief Councilor Mark Robson said that with four additional electric vehicle charging spots and 32 truck parking spaces instead of 22 at the site, as well as showers for truck drivers, the program represented “an improvement over what was already acceptable”.
In January, when the creation of another gas station and drive-through outlets in the region was unnecessary, the same planning committee voted to authorize a program that it said would see outlets BP, McDonald’s, Marks & Spencer and Costa Coffee built on farmland.
The meeting learned that the project would have a significant environmental impact and that the authority had previously ruled out development at the site, but that the views of key advisers changed after learning that 106 full-time jobs would be created there.
At the time, Councilor Bryn Griffiths questioned the amount of public benefits the scheme would provide, adding, “The whole point here is that it provides substantial employment opportunities to mitigate the negative effects.
Nonetheless, at the same meeting, the chairman of the committee pointed out how Marks & Spencer’s presence in town would prevent locals from traveling to Northallerton or Ripon.
Budgens or Greggs
When the committee considered the revised proposals, members were told that Marks & Spencer had pulled out of the program, which was now run by the Motor Fuel Group, the UK’s largest independent forecourt operator, rather than BP.
It also emerged that while the previous plan claimed it would generate 106 jobs, documents submitted with the latest proposal indicated that it would “directly support over 75 local jobs”, without specifying how many of them would be on the job. site and how many of them would be full time roles.
They were told that the proposed grocery store would be much larger – 438 square meters compared to 310 square meters – and that it would now be occupied by Budgens and Greggs.
Thirsk Councilor Dave Elders said: “There are a number of residents of Thirsk and Sowerby who will be disappointed with the change in the grocery store offerings. They were eagerly awaiting an M&S Food in Thirsk and Sowerby, but it isn’t. There’s one in Northallerton.