Texaco garage appeal fails

AN inspector appointed by the Secretary of State has dismissed an appeal to extend the opening hours of a garage in Heckmondwike to 24 hours.

As reported in the Guardian and Herald in March, concerned residents and members of Kirklees Council opposed Younis Adams's plans to extend the opening hours of his garage at Walkley Lane.

At a public inquiry at Batley Town Hall last month, they said it would be too noisy at night.

The plans were opposed by environmental health officers Kevin Moore and Judith Urmston, enforcement officer Derek Allan and planning officer Jonathan Ainley.

Three residents also attended the inquiry at Batley Town Hall to express their concerns over the proposed change.

David Walton, of Walkley Lane, said: "Our houses are nearly in line with the canopy of the petrol station.

"Noise travels further on a night, especially on such a quiet road as Walkley Lane. In my house, I can hear drunks on a night going into the forecourt, taxis using the vacuum cleaner at 2am, people using the jet wash, car stereos on loud, screeching tyres and youths doing wheel spins."

Isobel McCretton, of the Planning Inspectorate, said in a report: "From the history of complaints to the council it is clear that late/night time opening results in disturbance to adjoining residents.

"The appellant argues a management plan can be put in place to control the behaviour of the customers, such as signs in the forecourt requesting that stereos/radios be turned off and refusing to serve people playing loud music.

"However in my opinion such measures are not likely to be effective.

"I have taken into account the appellant's claim 24-hour opening gives better security for both the filling station and the commercial property to the rear and that the business has to operate in an increasingly competitive market.

"I also note some local property owners have no objection to the extended opening times.

"However in my view these factors do not outweigh the disturbance to local residents at times when they can reasonably expect peace and quiet."