‘Chaos’ fears over plans to double size of Leeds village petrol station

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Plans to redevelop a petrol station in a Leeds village have been put on hold after fierce opposition from locals amid fears it will lead to traffic “chaos”.

Shell wants to clear the existing forecourt at Pool Road, Pool in Wharfedale, and build a bigger shop which would almost double the total size of the business.

However locals says the plans as they stand will be “dangerous”.

Local councillor Barry Anderson told the South and West Plans the way the garage is proposed to be laid out “looks to be very chaotic with cars coming in and going out from all angles”.

A raft of other concerns were presented to the decision-making committee, with 20 letters of objection, some referring to a previous version of the plan.

“We have concerns around what will be a much larger garage with more parking,” Coun Anderson said .

The panel was told the village was already in “dire straits” due to traffic and “to put this obtrusive development in the middle of it just does not make sense”.

Pool Parish Council also objected to the scheme, citing “excessive” opening hours and the “potential threat to the village shop and post office caused by the proposed increase in shop size”.

Supporters of the proposals told the panel that the expanded shop and forecourt facilities would “enhance local provision and would not affect existing local shops”.

Gregory Pead, agent for Shell, told the panel that the site was already an established and permitted service station.

He said the infrastructure of the station - and its underground pipe work - need improving and it was envisaged the design would actually help cut tailback.

Addressing concerns about increased traffic, he said “w don’t put the traffic on the road”, pointing out that there had been a 20 percent increase in vehicles on the highways.

However there was consternation at his admittance that the company had not consulted - or sought to consult - local people or ward councillors ahead of the application, as they felt council officers were the bridge to gauging local opinion.

Council officers had recommended approval, with their pre-report saying that the proposal “represents a relatively modest refurbishment” and “an opportunity to refresh a development that appears a little dated”.

However the panel overruled that recommendation, and voted to defer its decision for further talks with local councillors.

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