Residents give reasons for BP challenge

Lighting, 24-hour activity and fumes were just some of the reasons Mosgiel residents challenged a proposed BP station redevelopment yesterday.

At a hearings committee meeting, BP presented its proposal to demolish and redevelop its petrol station in Gordon Rd and expand to an adjoining site.

The facility would be open 24 hours, as opposed to the current facility which closes at 11pm.

A car wash, cafe and vacuum would be added to the facility.

The proposal initially received eight opposing and two supporting submissions, but one of the supporting submissions was later withdrawn.

A report by planner Connor Marner recommended the proposal be declined in its current form largely due to the increased hours and expansion on to a residentially-zoned property.

Images in the report picture that property with a dwelling and garage, but they have since been demolished.

At the hearing Ian Berry, who neighbours the property, said the extra noise and fumes created by the redevelopment would impact his life "quite a lot".

"There is going to be 60% more pumps. The number of customers to the site will increase.

"That will have a detrimental impact on my health."

Gertruda McDonald, who also neighbours the property, disagreed with BP’s evidence stating increased lighting would have minor effects on her property.

"We notice when the lights go off at 11 o’clock and it makes quite a difference."

The 24-hour nature of the new facility would make it a meeting point for "rowdy young people", she said.

She suggested it close at 9pm.

Lawyer James Winchester, who represented BP, said he was "disappointed and puzzled" at the planner’s report suggesting the proposal be declined.

"It relies on a value judgement that service stations in residential zones are contrary to the objectives of relevant planning documents.

"The key conclusions do not appear to be well-founded."

The current facility was tired, outdated and had insufficient pump numbers which led to  queueing, he said.

"Overall, it’s BP’s view, and that’s entirely subjective, that this proposal is a good thing for Mosgiel.

"This is a significant investment by BP into the local economy."

A BP station had been at the site since at least the 1970s, and it seemed there was a service station there since the 1940s, he said.

He was disappointed Ms Marner did not put more weight on the future district plan, the 2GP, as the proposal would be more likely allowed under that document, he said.

The panel reserved its decision and commissioner Colin Weatherall said a decision was likely to be made in late January or early February.

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