Petrol station business hits out at plan to knock down village pub

An artist's impression of Tout Ltd's plans for the Lord Nelson. Picture: Tout Ltd

An artist's impression of Tout Ltd's plans for the Lord Nelson. Picture: Tout Ltd - Credit: Archant

The proposed demolition of a village pub, which could be replaced by a petrol station, has been maligned by a rival business – which has called for the plans to be torn up.

Rontec Roadside Retail, which runs the filling station on the A370 in Congresbury, is unhappy with Tout Ltd’s plans for the Lord Nelson in Cleeve.

Tout wants to demolish the former pub and build a complex which will include a convenience store, petrol station, pub café, offices and other businesses – and the firm believes its plan would deliver ‘much-needed facilities to locals and road users’.

But the idea has angered villagers who fear the loss of a community asset and are concerned by the development’s impact on traffic and ecology.

Rontec has joined villagers in demanding the plans are rejected in an objection to North Somerset Council.

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It believes the proposals are inappropriate for a site in the greenbelt – even though a pub used to be open there – would cause the loss of heritage and an asset of community value, and create noise and lighting issues.

Rontec’s property projects manager Rupert Ainsworth said: “We consider no clear or convincing case has been made for the complete demolition and loss of this building. The proposal has been widely condemned by many locals and the parish council, and the Lord Nelson has been at the heart of village identity and sense of belonging for more than 80 years.

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“The proposed use of the petrol station on a 24-hour basis has the potential to cause both light and noise nuisances to residential properties by virtue of cars using the facility, tankers delivering at night and light from the under canopy of the forecourt.”

Tout believes its scheme though will benefit the community and motorists.

The plans have been under review by the council for several months, but it is hoped a verdict can be reached soon.

Ian Fergusson, a campaigner bidding to save the pub, told the Mercury ‘there is no pressing need for a new filling station’.

He said: “Is the A370 littered with abandoned vehicles that have run out of fuel? No, because provision nearby is more than adequate.

“The destruction of a landmark cultural asset in the heart of Cleeve is simply not outweighed by building an ugly, unwanted facility which is at odds with current strategies to reduce carbon emissions.”

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